A deciduous tree up to 25 ft high, or a shrub; young shoots glabrous or soon becoming so. Leaves ovate, with a long, slender, often tail-like apex, heart-shaped at the base, coarsely triangular-toothed, each tooth terminated by a bristle, 3 to 6 in. long, 2 to 31⁄4 in. wide, nearly glabrous except for axil-tufts beneath when young; stalk 1 to 15⁄8 in. long. Male catkins 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, with a bare stalk one-third as long; female ones much shorter. Fruits described by Wilson as ‘pale red, sweet, palatable’, also as ‘black’.
Native of China and Korea; discovered by the Abbé David in 1864; introduced by Wilson in 1907. Originally regarded as a variety of M. alba, it was made a species by Schneider in Plantae Wilsonianae, Vol. Ill, p. 296. It is very distinct by reason of the coarse, bristly toothed margins of the leaves. Henry describes it as common on the mountains around Peking and the fruit as ‘insipid’. The style is longer than in M. alba and in this character the species approaches M. australis.
There is an example in the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, measuring 35 × 2 ft (1969).
var. diabolica Koidz. – Leaves scabrid above, downy beneath and frequently deeply lobed; marginal teeth bristle-tipped.
var. vestita Rehd. – Leaves densely hairy beneath and slightly so above, not lobed and up to only 23⁄4 in. long. Inflorescence hairy.