An elegant tree up to 30 ft high, with a slender trunk supporting a dense, rounded head of leafy branches; young shoots slender, glabrous; thorns sharp, slender, up to 3 in. long, sometimes branched. Leaves triangular, broadly ovate, heart-shaped or slightly rounded at the base, pointed, often lobed towards the base, sharply toothed; 1 to 3 in. long, 3⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. wide; of a vivid lustrous green, and glabrous except when first expanded; stalk up 1 in. long. Flowers white, 1⁄2 in. across, produced during July in terminal and axillary corymbs 2 to 3 in. wide. Calyx and flower-stalk quite glabrous; stamens twenty; anthers pink; styles two to five. Fruit scarlet, orange-shaped, 1⁄4 in. diameter, persisting on the tree until spring.
Native of the south-eastern United States; introduced in 1738. This handsome species is one of the most distinct of all the thorns. It flowers the latest of all the better-known kinds, and its small, bright fruits are beautiful through the winter. The leaves die off in shades of scarlet and orange.
cv. ‘Fastigiata’. – Of columnar habit.