A deciduous shrub 2 to 3 ft high with glabrous stems, green when young, yellowish when mature, armed with stout three-pronged spines 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Leaves 2⁄3 to 1 in. long, obovate to almost oblong, spiny-toothed, grey-green above with a prominent reticulate venation, grey beneath. Flowers 1⁄2 in. across, one to five in a cluster or condensed raceme. Berries bright red, about 1⁄2 in. long, ovoid, with a short style and containing six to ten seeds. Bot. Mag., t. 8224.
Native of N.W. China. It is a decorative species, colouring well in the autumn. It was introduced to Kew at the end of the last century from the St Petersburg Botanic Garden, to which seed had been sent from Kansu by the Russian explorer Przewalski.
B. aemulans Schneid. – This species is very near to B. diaphana, but grows to 6 ft high and has red or purplish-red young shoots. At Kew it grows very vigorously, and the long wand-like stems are very decorative in autumn after the leaves have fallen. Native of W. China, introduced by Wilson in 1908. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 179.
B. circumserrata Schneid. – This species was at first considered by Schneider to be a variety of B. diaphana, which it much resembles except in the leaves, which are more broadly rounded, and closely edged all round with slender bristle-like teeth. It was probably first introduced by Purdom, who collected it in the Tapai Shan, Shensi, in 1910-11.