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A deciduous, climbing shrub, growing 20 to 30 ft high; branchlets red, round, not downy, set with wart-like lenticels. Leaves 2 to 4 in. long, obovate or elliptical, tapering at the base to a slender stalk, remotely toothed; glabrous except on the principal veins beneath when young. Flowers produced during April and May, each on a slender stalk 1 in. long, two or three of them being borne in a cluster at the base of the young growths; they are pale rose-coloured, fragrant, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. across. After the female flowers are past, that portion bearing the carpels continues to lengthen until it is 2 to 6 in. long, and on it the berry-like, scarlet fruits are borne on a sort of pendulous spike. These remain on the plant during the winter. Male flowers with four or five stamens.
Native of China, Japan, Korea, Sakhalin and the Amur region; introduced in 1860. Although not showy in flower (the petals soon drop), its scarlet fruits are very handsome. The dried wood is charmingly fragrant.