A deciduous shrub or small tree of bushy habit 10 to 25 ft high; young shoots downy. Leaves ovate in main outline, but usually deeply three-lobed at the terminal part, sometimes five-lobed, the smaller leaves scarcely lobed, lobes slenderly pointed, toothed, often curved outwards, the base rounded or slightly heart-shaped, 1 to 31⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 21⁄2 in. wide, slightly downy at first on both surfaces, becoming nearly or quite glabrous; stalk 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. long. Flowers white, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. wide, produced four to ten in May in a terminal corymb 2 to 3 in. wide; main and secondary flower-stalks downy; calyx-lobes awl-shaped, they and the tubular part clothed with pale hairs; stamens about twenty; styles three, united, glabrous or downy at the base only. Fruits scarlet, dotted, egg-shaped, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long, the stalks 1 to 2 in. long, the calyx fallen away from the summit.
Native of Kansu, Hupeh, and Szechwan, China; introduced by Wilson in 1910 for the Arnold Arboretum, possibly before for Messrs Veitch. A tree raised from Wilson’s number 4115 flowered at St Clere, Kemsing, Sevenoaks, in May 1919, and from a specimen received from there the above description was made – apart from the fruit. It is a handsome species with brightly coloured fruits, very distinct in the three-lobed leaves with three main veins at the base. It is allied to M. toringoides, which differs in the more pinnate lobing of the leaf and in having one or two more styles to each flower.
f. calva Rehd., differs from the type in having the flower-stalk and calyx devoid of down. Except for some down on the veins beneath, the leaves are also glabrous. One of the trees at St Clere (see above), also raised from W.4115, belongs to this form and from it came the spray figured in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 251.