A deciduous shrub up to 10 ft high, of spreading habit; young shoots covered with tawny down. Leaves oval to ovate-oblong, pointed, broadly wedge-shaped at the base; 1 to 13⁄4 in. long; dull green and furnished with tawny-down beneath; veins in four or five pairs; stalk 1⁄8 in. or less long. Flowers white tinged with pink, three to seven together in cymes on short side branches; calyx-lobes triangular, very downy. Fruit pear-shaped, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, dark red; nutlets usually three. Flowers in June.
Native of W. Szechwan, China; introduced by Wilson in 1910. It comes nearest perhaps to C. acuminatus, but that species is less downy beneath the leaves, and its brighter-coloured fruits have only two nutlets.
var. cornifolius Rehd. & Wils. – This variety is distinguished by its larger leaves (up to 23⁄4 in. long) with five to seven pairs of more strongly marked veins; there are five nutlets in each fruit. It appears to be superior as a garden shrub to the type and seems to be the commoner in gardens.
C. glomerulatus W. W. Sm. – This species resembles C. obscurus but has smaller leaves, covered beneath with a brown felt, more flowers to the inflorescence and smaller, brighter red fruits. Flinck and Hylmö, however, place it in the series Glomerulati, near to C. nitidifolius Marquand. It was discovered and introduced by Forrest.