A deciduous shrub or small tree, ultimately 15 to 30 ft high, of erect, rather thin habit, making long, slender, graceful, round branchlets, not downy in any part. Leaves oval or ovate; 11⁄2 to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. wide; broadly wedge-shaped at the base, long and slender-pointed, the margins set with small incurved teeth; pale green and glabrous; stalk slender, 1⁄3 to 1 in. long. Flowers yellowish white, 1⁄4 in. across, the parts in fours, anthers purple; produced in cymes 1 to 2 in. long. Fruit four-lobed, glabrous, 1⁄2 in. across, yellowish white tinged with pink, indented at the top, often unequal-sided through the non-development of the seed in one or more lobes; lobes angle-edged when barren, quite rounded when fertile. Aril orange-coloured. Bot. Mag., t. 8656.
Native of N. China, Manchuria, etc. Seeds were sent to Kew by Dr Bretschneider from N. China in 1883, which represent, so far as I am aware, its first introduction. In sunnier climates than ours it bears fruit abundantly and regularly. With us it grows well and flowers freely, but a fine crop of fruit is rather exceptional. On such an occasion, however, the shrub is extremely effective. The autumn colouring of the leaves is usually soft lemon-yellow, tinged with pink, and develops rather early.
var. semipersistens (Rehd.) Schneid. E. hamiltonianus var. semipersistens Rehd. – Leaves semi-persistent, remaining green well into the winter. Late-fruiting. There is an example about 20 ft high in the R.H.S. Garden, Wisley, on a short trunk.