A small tree or shrub with a rounded head of branches; young shoots furnished at first with minute scattered down, becoming quite glabrous later. Leaves obliquely ovate; 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 5⁄8 to 13⁄8 in. wide; markedly unequal-sided at the base, being usually rounded on one side the stalk and tapered on the other; the apex pointed; margins set with large, incurved teeth except near the base; upper surface dark green, not downy, but covered with minute warts which render it rough; lower surface paler and smooth, except for scattered minute bristles on the veins, only visible under the lens. Fruits globose, reddish brown, 1⁄/6 in. diameter, on stalks 1⁄2 to 1 in. long.
Native of the Caucasus and Asia Minor; introduced to Kew from Van Volxem's nursery in 1870. The species had no doubt been introduced to cultivation by Jean Van Volxem, who had collected plants in the Caucasus about ten years previously. It is distinct from the other species except C. bungeana, in its glabrous leaves, and from that species is distinguished by the conspicuous incurved teeth extending almost all round the margins. There is an example at Kew measuring 35 × 41⁄2 ft (1967), pl. 1879.
C. tournefortii Lam. – A shrub or small tree to 20 ft high, related to the preceding but easily distinguished by its leaves, which are blue- or grey-green above, downy beneath, with broad, blunt teeth. Native of Sicily, the Balkans, Asia Minor, and the Crimea. Although introduced in the eighteenth century, it is little known in this country; on the continent, according to Krüssmann (Handbuch der Laubholzkunde, 1960), it makes a picturesque small tree and colours well in the autumn.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
This species also occurs in the Balkans and in the Crimea; in the east it extends as far as Iran.
The tree at Kew, pl. 1879, measures 41 × 43⁄4 ft (1981).
C. tournefortii – There are now young trees of this species at Kew, raised from seeds collected by John Simmons, the Curator, in northern Greece in 1975.