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A small tree, semi-evergreen in mild winters, 20 ft or more high; shoots glabrous except when quite young. Leaves oval or oblong, sometimes lanceolate, 1 to 3 in. long, 1⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. wide, dark shining green above, paler beneath, and nearly or quite glabrous when fully grown, base usually tapering, margins coarsely toothed, especially towards the apex. On the flowering twigs the leaves are small, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, oblong, and entire, or with a few teeth only towards the apex. Flowers fragrant like violets, rosy or almost white, 1 to 11⁄4 in. across, produced usually in clusters of four, each flower on a slender stalk, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long; calyx teeth white, woolly inside. Fruits 3⁄4 in. across, yellowish green, fragrant, harsh, acid.
Native of eastern N. America; introduced, according to Aiton, in 1750. The true plant was evidently known to Loudon, but it had disappeared from cultivation until about 1900, when it was reintroduced from the United States. It is closely allied to M. coronaria, and has been regarded as a variety of it. It has, however, a more southern distribution in the wild, and is quite distinct in the shape of its leaves, which are only about half as wide in proportion to their length, and have wedge-shaped bases.