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A deciduous shrub (sometimes a tree in the wild), with glabrous young stems. Leaves ovate to oval, with a long, tapering, lanceolate point, and a wedge-shaped base, sharply toothed, 2 to 5 in. long, 3⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. wide, pale green, glabrous, or downy only on the midrib and veins; stalk slender, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. long. Flowers white, the males crowded at the end of short spur-like branches, or in the leaf-axils of the previous year’s growth, along with two or three leaves; the females short-stalked, fewer, often soliary. Calyx-lobes ciliate. Fruits globose, bright orange red, 3⁄8 in. across, borne on stalks about 1⁄4 in. long.
Native of the eastern United States from New York State southwards. It is allied to I. decidua, having the fruits red, the seeds many-ribbed at the back, and leaves often clustered on short spurs, but I. decidua has round-toothed leaves usually widest above the middle, and blunt at the apex. Introduced to Kew from N. Carolina in 1899, but possibly in cultivation earlier.