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A deciduous shrub or a small tree. Leaves obovate, or ovate-lanceolate, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, the apex drawn out into a long fine point, tapered at the base, finely and regularly toothed, each tooth gland-tipped. Flowers white, in corymbs 1 in. long and 11⁄2 in. wide, produced in May; stalks conspicuously warted; each flower about 1⁄2 in. in diameter. Fruit the size and shape of common haws, red.
Native of Japan, China, and Korea. It is a variable plant especially in the amount of down on the leaves, young shoots, and flower-stalk. In the typical P. villosa the leaves are, as a rule, more obovate, and all the younger parts of the plant hairy; the flower-stalk is felted with grey down, and the fruit is about 1⁄2 in. long. In var. laevis (see further below), the leaves are usually longer-pointed and, like the branchlets and flowers, are glabrous or only slightly downy; the brilliant red fruits are 1⁄2 in. long. These two varieties, while distinct enough in themselves, are united by various intermediate forms, and it is doubtful if the distinction need be recognised in gardens. Indeed it never has been, since most of the plants grown as P. villosa belong strictly to the var. laevis. It was introduced to Europe by Siebold around 1865, but did not reach this country until later in the century.
Although not in the first rank as an ornamental, P. villosa makes an elegant shrub of large size and is very reliable both in its fruiting and in its red autumn colouring. It is not suitable for chalky soils.
There are now young plants at Kew from two seed collections by Beyer, Erskine and Cowley in South Korea (1982). One was from near Kangnung in Kangwon province (no. 136) and the other from near the summit of Mount Pukhan in Kyonggi province (no. 224).
Pyrus sinensis var. maximowicziana Lévl.
Photinia maximowicziana (Lévl.) Nakai, not P. maximowiczii Decne
Crataegus laevis Thunb.
Pourthiaea arguta Lav., not Decne