A small, nearly unarmed tree 15 to 20 ft high, with a rounded or flatfish, spreading head of branches, often pendulous at the ends; young branchlets at first covered with whitish hairs, many of which fall away by the end of the season. Leaves mostly triangular or lozenge-shaped; 1 to 2 in. long, nearly or quite as much wide; wedge-shaped to almost square at the base, more or less deeply cut (often nearly to the midrib) into five to nine narrow oblong lobes, which are themselves jaggedly toothed at the points; dark green above, grey beneath, downy on both sides; stalk 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. long; stipules 1⁄3 in. across, with a few large teeth. Flowers 3⁄4 in. across, white, produced in early June in corymbs of twelve or more blossoms; calyx and flower-stalks grey-woolly; stamens twenty. Fruit coral-red or yellowish red, 3⁄4 in. diameter, globose, downy.
Native of the, Orient; introduced in 1810. This beautiful thorn is much planted in the south of England, and is common in some of the London parks. Both in flower and fruit it is a charming tree.
C. heldreichii Boiss. – This species, a native of Greece, is closely allied to C. laciniata (orientalis), from which it differs in its smaller leaves, 3⁄5 to 21⁄5 in. long, with rounded, more or less entire lobes. There is an example about 12 ft high in the R.H.S. Garden at Wisley.
C. schraderana Ledeb. C. orientalis var. sanguinea Loud.; C. tournefortii Griseb. – Laxer than C. laciniata (orientalis) in habit, and with the lobes of the leaves somewhat broader. It is not so effective in fruit as that species, the fruits being of a dark dull or purplish red. Native of Greece and the Crimea.