A small, mostly unarmed tree up to 20 ft high, young shoots slightly hairy at first, soon glabrous, and becoming of a deep shining brown-purple. Leaves diamond-shaped to ovate, always tapered at the base, with three, five, or seven shallowish lobes, sharply, sometimes doubly toothed; 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 11⁄4 to 21⁄2 in. wide; slightly hairy on both sides, especially in the vein-axils beneath; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long; stipules semi-heart-shaped, coarsely toothed, 3⁄4 in. across. Flowers white, 5⁄8 in. across, in dense corymbs; calyx and flower-stalks glabrous; stamens twenty, with purple anthers; styles ordinarily three. Fruit bright red, globose, scarcely 1⁄2 in. long.
Native of the vast region extending from S.E. Russia across Siberia; introduced early in the nineteenth century. It belongs to the same group as altaica and chlorosarca. The colour of its twigs is rather notable, but it is amongst the least desirable of thorns.
Closely allied to C. sanguinea is C. dahurica Koehne, also with branches of a deep brown-purple, but its leaves are smaller (rarely 2 in. long), scarcely or only finely lobed, almost glabrous. Fruit smaller, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long, orange-red.
Native of S.E. Siberia and Amurland, and, like many shrubs and trees of that region, starts early into growth. At Kew it blossoms at the end of April and early in May.
Occasionally seen in cultivation also is C. maximowiczii Schneid. (C. sanguinea var. villosa Maxim.), a species of the Sanguinea group, but very distinct in the bristly hairy flower-stalks, calyx, and young fruits – the last smooth and red when ripe. Amurland, N. Manchuria, etc.
Another species in this group is C. chungtienensis W. W. Sm., discovered by Forrest on the Chungtien Plateau, Yunnan, China, in 1913, and introduced by seed collected on the Yü-Hü expedition in 1937. It is in cultivation at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, Eire, where, Lord Rosse tells us, it makes a dense-crowned tree and promises to reach a good size (Forrest described it as a shrub to about 20 ft high). It was described as differing from C. sanguinea in the smaller leaves, rounded to truncate at the base and in the stipules being edged with glandular teeth.