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A deciduous shrub up to 12 ft high, with glabrous, spiny branches; spines in pairs, thin, broad and flat at the base, 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. long, shining. Leaves 5 to 10 in. long, trifoliolate or pinnate, with usually three or five, rarely seven stalkless leaflets, the main-stalk distinctly winged, often 3⁄8 in. wide. Leaflets increasing in size towards the end of the leaf, the terminal one largest and as much as 5 in. long; others are only half as long; ovate or lanceolate, finely toothed, acuminate. Flowers yellowish, in small panicles 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. long produced from the leaf-axils in spring. Fruit red, warted; seeds black, shining, about the size of large shot. Bot. Mag., t. 8754.
Native of Japan, Korea, Formosa and China; in cultivation by the 1870s. It is easily recognised among the other hardy species by its very distinctly winged rachis and broad spines. Although deciduous, it will in mild seasons retain its leaves up to Christmas, fresh and green. After a hot summer it bears the red fruits freely, and is then very handsome. The fruiting spray depicted in the Botanical Magazine was sent by Canon Ellacombe from his garden in Gloucestershire in December 1914 and shows how the leaflets of this species roll their margins inwards during cold weather. It is almost hardy, suffering only in severe winters.