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A deciduous climber growing 15 ft or more high; branches slender, grooved, often very densely furnished with numerous black prickles, often unarmed. Leaves ovate to ovate-oblong, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, finely pointed, five- or seven-veined, 3 to 5 in. long, 1 to 3 in. wide, glabrous and green on both surfaces; stalk 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. long, with tendrils attached to it near the blade. Flowers yellowish white, borne in axillary umbels 3⁄4 in. wide, the main-stalk of which is 1⁄3 in. long, the individual stalks 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long. Fruits globose, black, 1⁄4 in. wide, in clusters of nine to twelve, each containing one to three seeds.
Native of Central China; discovered by Henry; introduced by Wilson in 1907. The original type specimen collected in Hupeh by A. Henry about 1888, on which Wright founded the species, has the stem practically covered with the slender, bristle-like spines he described. Plants at Kew, however, raised from Wilson’s seeds in 1908, had fairly stiff spines sprinkled freely over the stems but no bristle-like ones. The fruits, too, were much smaller. Wilson’s No. 627 is certainly true but Nos. 455, 671, and 680, which have also been called S. scobinicaulis, seem to be distinct.