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A deciduous shrub originally collected in Yunnan, China, by the Abbé Delavay and made a variety of C. gerardiana by Franchet. It is, however, very distinct from that species in the young shoots having none of the shagginess seen in C. gerardiana and in the spines being set singly on the twigs half an inch apart instead of forming a thicket along the branches. These spines are really the persisting main-stalk of the leaves, enlarged, woody, stiff, and up to 2 in. long. Each leaf has eight or ten leaflets pinnately arranged; leaflets obovate, 1⁄4 in. long, parallel-veined, silky-hairy beneath when young. Flowers 1 in. long, yellow; calyx cylindrical, 1⁄2 in. long, deeply triangular-lobed, downy; flower-stalk 1⁄4 in. long, carrying three small bracts. Pod downy, 13⁄4 in. long.
The plants in cultivation were raised from seed collected by Forrest in Yunnan about 1913. Delavay found it in flower on 20th June 1885.