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Shrubs or trees, sometimes forming clonal thickets, 1–400 dm, glabrous or hairy. Stems 1–20+; bark reddish, reddish brown, gray-brown, or dark gray; long and short shoots usually present; thorns present or absent. Leaves deciduous or persistent, cauline; stipules caducous, linear to lanceolate, margins toothed to lobed, usually glandular; petiole present or absent, usually glandular near blade; blade elliptic, oblong, suborbiculate, ovate, lanceolate, linear, obovate, oblanceolate, spatulate, fan-shaped, or rhombic, seldom folded along midribs, 0.5–18 cm, membranous to leathery, margins flat, usually entire or toothed, sometimes undulate, teeth usually glandular, sometimes eglandular. Inflorescences terminal on short shoots or from axils of previous year’s leaves, 1–64(–90)[–100]-flowered, racemes, corymbs, umbellate fascicles, 2-flowered fascicles, or solitary; bracts sometimes present; bracteoles present. Pedicels usually present, sometimes absent. Flowers usually bisexual, sometimes unisexual (then plants usually dioecious, sometimes andropolygamous), blooming before or at leaf emergence, 4–40 mm diam.; hypanthium 1.5–8 mm, exterior glabrous or hairy; sepals 5, erect to reflexed, usually triangular, semicircular, ovate, or oblong, rarely ovate-elliptic, lanceolate, or obovate; petals 5(–50+ in doubled ornamentals), usually white to pink or dark pink, sometimes yellowish, usually suborbiculate to elliptic or obovate, sometimes oblong, rarely ovate, oblanceolate, or rhombic, base usually clawed; stamens 10–30, usually shorter than or equal to petals, sometimes longer. Drupes 1, greenish yellow to yellowish or orange to bright or dark red, reddish brown, or dark purple to black, globose to ovoid, ovoid-oblong, ellipsoid, or obovoid, 5–30(–80) mm; hypanthium deciduous, rarely persistent in fruit; sepals falling with hypanthium; mesocarps usually fleshy, sometimes leathery to dry, rarely splitting along suture to reveal stone; endocarps forming globose to ovoid or ellipsoid to fusiform stones, sometimes flattened laterally. Seed 1. x = 8.

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