A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.

Caragana decorticans Hemsl.

Modern name

Caragana decorticans Hemsl.

A deciduous shrub or small tree up to 15 or 18 ft high, densely branched, armed with spiny stipules 14 in. long. Leaves 1 to 112 in. long, pinnate in three to six pairs of leaflets which are oval or obovate, 14 to 12 in. long, spine-tipped, with appressed hairs on both surfaces but especially beneath; main leaf-stalk, spine-tipped but deciduous. Flowers bright pale yellow, 1 in. long, each borne on a very slender downy stalk, 34 in. long, jointed near the calyx; calyx bell-shaped, with a spiny-toothed, ciliate margin. Pod 112 to 2 in. long.

Native of Afghanistan; discovered in 1879 by Dr Aitchison in the Kurrum Valley. It belongs to the same group as C. arborescens in having spiny persistent stipules and deciduous leaf-stalks, but the leaves and pods are shorter and the calyx has longer teeth. Aitchison observes that ‘the bark is employed by the Afghans in the form of rings to slip over and hold the sheaths of their long knives in position in lieu of brasswork; the surface takes a good polish and when new resembles bronzed leather’. Flowers in June.



Other species in the genus