Leaves spatulate or lance-obovate, 2.5-7 cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm wide, rounded, acute, or acuminate at the apex, attenuate at the base into winged petioles (1.5-2 cm long), sharply serrate or dentate on the upper two thirds of the blades, often incised and with shallow lobes above the middle, or on vigorous shoots deeply laciniate, firm in texture, with veins deeply impressed on the upper side, dull grayish green, scabrate above when young and pubescent along the veins beneath; flowers 16-20 mm in diameter, usually in many-flowered, compound, villous corymbs; stamens about 20; anthers red or rarely pale yellow; calyx lobes narrowly deltoid, usually entire; fruit subglobose or short-oblong and flattened at the ends, 14-20 mm in diameter, dull red with pale dots, becoming mellow; nutlets 3-4. A tree up to 10 m high, with gray, furrowed or slightly scaly bark, and often with compound thorns on the trunk or principal branches. The branches are at first ascending but, in old trees, becoming horizontal or depressed; the branchlets villous the first season, olive brown and glabrous the second season, and finally gray, unarmed or armed with long, slender thorns. Throughout Indiana, in thickets, pastures, and borders of woods. [Variety aurea,] differing only in the bright yellow fruit, has been found in Jennings and Wells Counties, and should be sought in other sections. [Variety canescens] differs in the close, copious, gray pubescence of the leaves and young branchlets. It is occasionally found throughout the range of the species, and is known from Allen, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Marshall, Vermillion, and Wayne Counties.
Arborescent shrub or usually a small tree to 10 m; twigs glabrous, usually with thorns 4-6 cm; lvs thick and firm, with impressed veins above, dull, glabrous or short- hairy on one or both surfaces, the floral ones mostly obovate, 2.5-6 נ1.5-4.5 cm, lobeless or only obscurely and shallowly lobed, the vegetative ones mostly larger, sometimes more rhombic or suborbicular, and often ±lobed; fls 1-2 cm wide, in villous or glabrous compound cymes; sep lanceolate or lance-linear, entire or glandular-serrate; fr 0.8-1.5 cm thick, dull or sometimes bright red to yellow; nutlets 3-5; 2n=34. Nf., Que., and N. Engl. to S.C. and Ga., w. to Minn., Io., and Okla. (C. collina; C. peoriensis; C. recedens; C. suborbiculata; C. verruculosa)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.