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A slender, deciduous tree of erect habit, up to 30 ft; branchlets purplish, glabrous. Leaves of variable shape, ovate with a truncate or heart-shaped base; 2 to 3 in. long, about half as wide; irregularly toothed, often three- or even five-lobed, the lobes shallow. When quite young there are tufts of hairs in the axils of the veins; otherwise they are quite glabrous. Flowers yellowish white, in erect inconspicuous racemes 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, produced in April along with the young leaves. Fruit glabrous; keys 3⁄4 to 1 in. long; wings 3⁄8 in. wide, spreading nearly horizontally.
Native of Japan; introduced in 1879 by Maries for Messrs Veitch. The bark is striped with white lines, as in others of the snake-bark group. The resemblance of the leaves to those of a hawthorn, suggested by the specific name, is a fanciful one. It is rarely seen under its correct label, but the short leaves, entire or shallowly three-lobed at the base, should distinguish it from its allies. There is a specimen at Westonbirt, Glos., measuring 36 × 11⁄2 ft (1967).