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A deciduous shrub 4 to 6 ft high, of rather gaunt habit, and with long, undivided, spiny branches, hairy when young. Leaves pinnate, composed of two to four pairs of leaflets, which are 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄6 in. wide, nearly or quite glabrous; common stalk of leaf 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long, silky when young, sharp-tipped, remaining after the leaves have fallen, and developing into a rigid, slender spine. Stipules chaffy, lanceolate, 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers very shortly stalked, nearly 1 in. long, bright yellow; calyx cylindrical, with short, triangular teeth. Pod 3⁄4 in. long, glabrous.
Native of Siberia; introduced in 1775. This is a curious shrub of the same type as C. jubata and gerardiana, but not so formidably armed not so downy. According to Pallas, the Russian botanist, in the neighbourhood of Pekin, where this shrub is plentiful, its branches are stuck in clay on the tops of walls to keep off trespassers, just as broken glass is used here. It is sometimes confused with C. tragacanthoides.