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A deciduous shrub, or occasionally a small tree 15 ft high. Leaves roundish, heart-shaped, 2 to 3 in. across, glabrous. Flowers 1⁄2 in. long, rose-coloured, produced on short stalks in clusters on the wood of the previous or earlier years. Pod 2 to 21⁄2 in. long, 2⁄3 in. wide, glabrous.
Native of California, and quite distinct from the eastern C. canadensis in its leaves, which are rounded or notched at the apex, and are very similar in outline to those of the European Judas-tree, but of a vivid green. At Kew it thrives no better than C. canadensis. Nearly allied is C. reniformis S. Wats., from Texas and New Mexico, a slender tree sometimes 20 ft, rarely 40 ft high, with leaves downy beneath and pods larger than in C. occidentalis.