A small deciduous or semi-evergreen, unarmed tree, up to 30 to 40 ft high, with the bark of the trunk and main branches peeling off in flakes like that of a plane. Branchlets extremely hairy when quite young, afterwards glabrous and glossy. Leaves obovate, ovate, or oval, 21⁄2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in wide; tapering to a stalk 1⁄2 in. long, which is furnished with hairs and gland-tipped teeth; upper surface glabrous, lower one covered with pale brown hairs, becoming nearly glabrous by autumn; margin regularly and minutely saw-toothed, teeth gland-tipped. Flowers solitary from the buds of the year-old shoots, or on short spurs, stalkless, soft carmine, 1 to 11⁄2 in. across, petals oblong. Fruits egg-shaped, pale citron-yellow when ripe, 5 to 7 in. long.
Native of China; introduced to England in the last decade of the 18th century, but afterwards quite lost to cultivation. Reintroduced from Italy in 1898. It succeeds very well on a south wall, and bears fruits which, however, do not ripen or become so large as one sees them on the Italian Riviera, where the tree is much cultivated. In the open it is not quite satisfactory, and suffers in severe winters. This is due no doubt to lack of summer sun, for I saw it some years ago in the Vienna Botanic Garden 15 ft or more high in perfect vigour, and the winter cold there is greater than ours. It flowers in April and May. It should be raised from seeds, obtainable from S. Europe.