A deciduous tree occasionally over 40 ft high in a wild state, more often a tall, spreading shrub in cultivation. Leaves broadly heart-shaped, pointed, 3 to 5 in. across, often wider than long; glabrous or thinly downy beneath. Flowers pale rose, 1⁄2 in. long, each on a stalk as long as itself, produced in clusters (fascicles) of four to eight blossoms; calyx 1⁄6 in. long, red. Pod about 3 in. long, 1⁄2 in. wide, pink when fully grown, but rarely seen in this country. Flowers in May and June.
Native of the eastern and central United States, in some districts so plentiful as to make a conspicuous feature in the landscape when in flower. Although one of the most beautiful of N. American trees, it is not so striking in this country, and does not bear comparison with C. siliquastrum for beauty in our gardens. It is quite easily distinguished from that species by its leaves, which are thinner, brighter green, and pointed; the flowers are not so large.
f. alba Rehd. – Flowers white.