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A deciduous tree 20 to 40 ft high; young shoots at first felted, afterwards glabrous and reddish brown. Leaves ovate, finely and irregularly toothed, sometimes slightly lobed, pointed, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 11⁄2 to 3 in. wide, chief veins in six to nine pairs, dull green and ultimately glabrous above, clothed beneath with a pale brown felt; stalk 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. long. Flowers white or with a faint pink tinge, 5⁄8 in. wide, produced during May in flattish clusters 2 to 21⁄2 in. wide at the end of short leafy side twigs. Calyx clothed with white wool at first, its lobes triangular; petals round; stamens twenty with yellow anthers; styles five, glabrous or nearly so. Fruits globose, 1⁄2 in. wide, deep red sprinkled with whitish dots, the reflexed calyx-lobes persisting at the top in a cup-shaped depression; flesh gritty, harsh, acid.
Native of Hupeh, Szechwan, and Yunnan, China; discovered by Delavay in Yunnan, introduced by Wilson in 1900. It is more commonly represented in gardens by var. veitchii, Rehd., a form with more distinctly lobed leaves but united with the type by intermediates. It was first exhibited and put on the market as “Pyrus Veitchiana” and under that name was given an Award of Merit at Westminster on 8 October 1912. The fruit-bearing branches then shown by Messrs Veitch bore a wonderful crop of red crabs and were exceedingly ornamental. I consider this one of the best of Wilson’s introductions amongst crabs, for in addition to the beauty of its fruits its leaves turn to scarlet and orange in autumn. It is figured in Bot. Mag., t. 8629. M. prattii, a near ally having also gritty, white-dotted, red fruits with a persisting calyx, differs in the leaves soon becoming smooth beneath and in never being lobed. M. tschonoskii has somewhat similar but never so distinctly lobed leaves, and larger brownish yellow and purple fruits, without a depression at the apex.