A shrub 4 to 8 ft high, with erect, much-branched stems and slightly hairy young shoots. Leaves ovate, oval or obovate, heart-shaped at the base, usually pointed at the apex, closely and unevenly toothed, sometimes slightly lobed; 11⁄2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 1 to 3 in. wide; upper surface with scattered hairs at first, becoming glabrous; lower surface permanently downy on the midrib and veins; stalk 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long. Male catkin 1 to 11⁄4 in. long. Nut about 1⁄2 in. long, the husk covered with a fine down mixed with which are numerous bristly hairs, the apex extended into a slender beak 1 to 11⁄4 in. beyond the nut.
Native of the eastern and central United States; introduced in 1745 by the then Duke of Argyll. It is rare in cultivation and has no value as a nut-bearing bush, but the long, drawn-out husk covered with bristles makes it interesting.
var. californica (A. DC.) Sharp C. rostrata var. californica A. DC. – This differs chiefly in having the leaves more downy beneath, and the beak of the involucre shorter. Native of the western side of N. America.