Irregularly and often intricately branched shrub 1-3 m, or a small tree 3-8 m, with few or many slender thorns 2.5-5 cm, the twigs glabrous or villous; lvs thin but firm, ovate to elliptic, rhombic, or even suborbicular, 2.5-6 נ1.5-5 cm (or the vegetative ones larger), usually with several pairs of shallow lateral lobes, glabrous to short-villous; petiole 1-3 cm, evidently glandular; fls 1.3-2 cm wide, 4-10 in simple or compound, lax, glabrous or villous cymes, these with numerous bracts conspicuously and copiously stipitate on the margins; sep narrow or broad, glandular-serrate or entire; fr green or yellow to orange or red, 0.7-1.5 cm thick, with thin dry flesh and mostly 3-5 nutlets. N. Engl. and s. Ont. to N.C. and Ala., w. to Mich. and Ark. (C. biltmoreana; C. boyntonii; C. foetida; C. fortunata; C. neobushii; C. rubella; C. stonei)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Leaves ovate or elliptic, mostly 3-6 cm long, 2.5-5 cm wide, acute at the apex, rounded or abruptly narrowed at the base, slightly decurrent on the slender (1-3 cm long), glandular petioles, coarsely serrate nearly to the base, usually incised on the upper two thirds of the blades with 2-4 pairs of shallow, steplike, lobes, thin but firm in texture, glabrous or essentially so, though sometimes with a few hairs on the upper surface when young; flowers 12-16 mm in diameter, in few-flowered, simple, corymbs, usually much exceeded by the subtending leaves; stamens about 10; anthers cream white or pink; bracts and calyx lobes glandular; fruit oblong or pyriform, or sometimes nearly globose but attenuate at the base, bronze green or becoming dull red at maturity; fruiting calyx broad and prominent; nutlets usually 3-4. A straggling shrub 1-3 m high with dark gray, scaly bark, ascending or spreading branches, and slender branchlets usually armed with long, slender thorns. Uncommon and scattered in northern Indiana, and known only from Kosciusko, Lagrange, and Lawrence Counties.