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A shrub or small tree, with a slender trunk and spreading branches; young shoots glabrous or soon becoming so, and reddish brown; thorns either absent or few. Leaves spoon-shaped, diamond-shaped, or obovate; often very distinctly three-lobed, the lobes coarsely round-toothed; apex blunt, the base narrowing to a long thin strip each side of the stalk; often with scattered down on both surfaces when young; the stalk, although apparently long, is really very short, owing to the extension of the blade in a narrow wing down each side. Excluding this, the leaves of the flowering shoots are 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, 3⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. wide; on the barren shoots 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, nearly as much wide. Flowers white, 1⁄2 in. diameter, produced towards the end of June in corymbs 11⁄2 in. across; stamens sixteen to twenty; styles two to five. Fruit 3⁄16 in. in diameter, globose, coral-red.
Native of the south and south-eastern United States; introduced in 1806. It ripens its fruits late, not until October, and both they and the leaves remain on the plant until the New Year. This is one of the more tender thorns, and apt to suffer in severe winters. Distinct in its tiny fruits.