A deciduous tree 20 to 50 ft high, with downy young shoots. Leaves thin, narrowly oval, tapering at both ends, 4 to 6 in. long, 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide, hairy at the margins and on the midrib, dull dark green above, pale and lustrous beneath; stalk 1⁄4 in. long, hairy. Male flowers produced in a rounded head 1⁄2 in. across at the end of a slender, downy stalk 1 to 11⁄2 in. long; females few on longer stalks, neither of any beauty. Fruits oblong, 1⁄2 in. long, bluish.
Native of Central China, where it was originally discovered in 1888 by Henry, who describes it as a rare tree occurring in mountain woods. Seeds were sent to Messrs Veitch by Wilson in 1901-2, but only one plant was raised. During his first expedition for the Arnold Arboretum he collected fruiting specimens in Kiangsi and most probably seeds also. At any rate, the Chinese tupelo is in cultivation in the USA and available in commerce in Britain, though it is very rare here. The leaves colour red or yellow in the autumn.