A deciduous tree up to 40 or more ft high in the wild state, very distinct through the bark of the trunk being smooth and of a striking brownish yellow colour, and peeling like that of a birch; young wood downy. The leaves are ovate, rounded at the base, pointed, very finely toothed, 3 or 4 in. long, by about half as wide, hairy on the midrib and veins, and are rendered very distinct by being covered with glandular dots on the lower surface. Racemes 2 to 3 in. long, springing from the previous season’s wood, downy; calyx-tube cylindrical, bell-shaped, the lobes glandular-toothed; petals white, not so long as the stamens.
Native of Manchuria, Korea, and bordering parts of Russia; introduced to cultivation by way of St Petersburg (Leningrad) in 1910. It is of uncertain taxonomic status, differing from the ordinary bird cherries (P. padus and its allies) in that the racemes are borne on the year-old wood, and from the cherry laurels in being deciduous. It has a very distinctive yellowish brown, lustrous bark, but has no other claim to a place in gardens.
The following specimens have been recorded: R.H.S. Garden, Wisley, 30 × 4 ft (1968); Borde Hill, Sussex, 50 × 5 ft (1958); Westonbirt, Glos., pl 1935, 35 × 51⁄2 ft (1966). A tree at Wakehurst Place, although not more than sixty years old, is already in decline; it measures 35 × 73⁄4 ft (1968).