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A deciduous tree up to 20 or 25 ft high in the wild, but often shrubby and forming thickets; branchlets reddish. Leaves broadly ovate or broadly oval, usually rounded or sometimes slightly heart-shaped at the base, 2 to 3 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, sharply sometimes doubly toothed, downy at first, becoming nearly or quite glabrous; leaf-stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, glandular. Flowers white, 2⁄3 in. across, produced in stalkless umbels of two to four blossoms, each on a stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Fruits oblong, dark red or sometimes yellow, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long.
Native of Oregon and California, and although discovered by Hartweg in 1847, not introduced to Europe until about forty years later. In its native country its leaves turn a brilliant red before falling. It differs from most other American plums in having the young leaves rolled up from the sides (convolute in bud), as are the Old World species, whereas the N.E. American species are conduplicate in bud, i.e., the halves of the leaf fold up in bud like a sheet of note-paper. It succeeds at Kew, where there used to be a tree nearly 20 ft high.