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A tree to about 25 ft high in the wild, or a shrub; branchlets glabrous or almost so, olive-brown or reddish brown, purplish brown in the second season; winter buds about 3⁄8 in. long, narrowly conical, acute, the scales white-hairy on the back or only at the edge. Leaves 4 to 6 in. long including petiole; rachis glabrous, or sometimes with woolly tufts at the insertions of the leaflets, which are in five to seven pairs, lanceolate, 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, 3⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. wide, tapered to an acute apex, toothed in the upper half or two-thirds, almost glabrous beneath when mature. Inflorescence lax, 4 to 6 in. wide, more or less glabrous. Flowers white or sometimes tinged with pink, unusually large, about 5⁄8 in. wide on the introduced plants and apparently even wider on some wild plants; receptacle glabrous. Carpels free almost to the base. Fruits globose, about 3⁄8 in. wide, glabrous. Bot. Mag., t.7755.
Native mainly of Soviet Central Asia, but extending southwest into Afghanistan, northwest Pakistan and the inner parts of Kashmir, and eastward as far as the Chinese province of Kansu; introduced from Russia in 1895. So far, this species has not been a success in this country, though with so wide a range in Asia it may yet provide a form adapted to our climate. A plant that once grew at Borde Hill in Sussex, planted in 1907, had not produced a fruit by 1932, when it was 5 ft high. Dr Fox’s plant in the Winkworth Arboretum grew to be 9 ft high in nineteen years and in that time flowered once, without bearing fruits. In Scotland it succeeds better.
For a species supposedly related to S. tianschanica, see S. cashmiriana,