Deciduous shrubs, 1-4 m tall; young branches usually with 2 or 4 winglike corks, wings up to 5 mm wide, 1-2 mm thick, twigs 4-angled, green or brown when dry. Petiole sessile or very short, 2-4 mm; leaf blade thinly leathery to papery, obovate or obovate-elliptic, sometimes ovate-elliptic or oblong-elliptic, 4.5-10 × 2-4 cm, base cuneate or attenuate, margin crenulate to serrulate, apex acute, acuminate, or even caudate; lateral veins 5-7 pairs, curving forward and disappearing before reaching margin. Peduncle slender and short, 1-2 cm, typically 1 dichotomous branch with 3 flowers, rarely 2 branches with more flowers; pedicel slender, 5-7 mm. Flowers 4-merous, ca. 9 mm in diam.; sepals suborbicular; petals green, light yellow, or greenish yellow, ovate, base attenuate. Capsule reddish brown when fresh, dark brown or gray when dry, 4-lobed, 1-1.3 cm in diam., only 1-3 lobes developing, lobes ovoid. Aril bright red. Fl. Apr-Jul, fr. Jul-Nov.
Shrubs 1–4(–7) m. Stems erect; young branches 4-angled, becoming corky winged. Leaves deciduous; petiole 0.5–4 mm; blade narrowly elliptic, 2.5–6 × 0.5–2.5 cm, base attenuate or cuneate, margins denticulate, apex acuminate. Inflorescences axillary, (1–)3(–7)-flowered. Flowers: sepals 4; petals 4, yellowish green or white, oblong, 2–3 × 1.5–2 mm; stamens 4; ovary smooth. Capsules purple-brown, obovoid, 8–10 × 5–15 mm, deeply 2–4-lobed to base or only 1 lobe developing, lobes nearly distinct, surface smooth. Seeds ellipsoid, 7–8 × 4–5 mm; aril yellow or orange. 2n = 64.
Shrub to 2.5 m; twigs with 2–4 conspicuous corky wings; lvs subsessile, elliptic to obovate, to 6(–8) cm, sharply serrulate, turning bright red in autumn, then deciduous; fls 4-merous, green, 6–8 mm wide; fr smooth, purplish; aril orange. Native of e. Asia, widely cult. and locally escaped and established in our range. May, June.