A deciduous shrub up to 12 ft high; young shoots reddish or purplish, glabrous. Leaves alternate, distinctly three-ribbed, ovate or oval, mostly blunt or rounded at the apex, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, the margin evenly set with bluntish teeth; 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. wide; dark green above, pale and more or less downy beneath; stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Panicles 21⁄2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 1 in. wide, produced in late spring or early summer from side-buds at the ends of the previous season's growth. Flowers white, 1⁄10 in. wide, each borne on a slender stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long; main and secondary flower-stalks thinly hairy. Fruit flattened-globose 1⁄/6 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 5177.
Native of western N. America, where it is widely spread from British Columbia to California. It was first discovered and collected in 1806 by Capt. Lewis, the leader of the first expedition across North America. About twenty years later it was found by David Douglas, who described it as abundant in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and as a shrub 4 to 10 ft high, flowering there in June. It was introduced by Wm Lobb about 1853 to Messrs Veitch's nursery at Exeter and first flowered with them in May 1859. The epithet sanguineus refers to the red young wood. In general appearance it is most like the eastern N. American species, C. americanus and C. ovatus, but both these differ in producing their flower panicles at and towards the end of the current year's growths. It is one of the hardier kinds.