A small tree up to 15 ft high, with a rounded compact head of grey-barked branches, often very crooked; young shoots more or less downy; thorns infrequent, grey, 1 to 2 in. long. Leaves ovate to rhomboidal or obovate, pointed, wedge-shaped and entire at the base, the upper part coarsely double-toothed or lobed; 2 to 5 in. long, 11⁄2 to 3 in. wide; parallel-veined, downy on both sides, especially beneath, the upper side becoming nearly or quite glabrous and dark green; stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers white, 5⁄8 in. diameter, borne in June in large, erect, loose corymbs 3 to 5 in. across; calyx and flower-stalk shaggy, calyx-lobes narrow, glandular-toothed; stamens sixteen to twenty, anthers pink; styles two to five. Fruits always erect, pear-shaped or oval, dull orange-coloured, 1⁄2 in. long.
Native of the eastern and central United States; introduced by Lee and Kennedy of Hammersmith in 1765. This is one of the most beautiful of American thorns when in flower, the upright corymbs being of unusual size. The leaves turn a brilliant orange or scarlet in autumn. Although on different plants the foliage varies in the amount of down it carries, the flower-stalks and calyx are always hairy.