38. Rhamnus erythroxylum Pallas, Reise Russ. Reich. 3: 722. 1776.
柳叶鼠李 liu ye shu li
Shrubs, rarely trees, dioecious, to 2 m tall, very spinose. Young branches brown or purple-brown, smooth, glabrous; branchlets alternate, terminating in a spine. Leaves alternate or fascicled on short shoots; stipules subulate, caducous; petiole 3-15 mm, glabrous or puberulent; leaf blade abaxially brownish, narrowly lanceolate to narrowly obovate, 3-5 cm × 3-10 mm, papery, both surfaces glabrous, lateral veins 4 or 5 pairs, venation abaxially distinctly prominent, adaxially inconspicuous, base cuneate, margin remotely serrulate, apex acute or obtuse. Flowers yellow-green, unisexual, 4-merous. Pedicels ca. 5 mm, glabrous. Petals present. Male flowers few- to 20-fascicled on short shoots, broadly campanulate; sepals subequal to calyx tube. Female flowers: sepals narrowly lanceolate, ca. 2 × as long as calyx tube, with rudimentary stamens; ovary 2- or 3-loculed; styles 2(or 3)-fid or cleft to half. Drupe black at maturity, globose, 5-6 mm in diam., usually 2(or 3) stones, with persistent calyx tube at base; fruiting pedicel 6-8 mm. Seeds pale brown, obovoid, 3-4 mm, abaxially with narrow margined furrow extending over 4/5 of length. Fl. May, fr. Jun-Jul.
Thickets, hills, open slopes, stony and rocky slopes, dry sands; 1000-2100 m. Gansu, Hebei, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, W Shaanxi, Shanxi [Mongolia, Russia (Siberia); SW Asia (Caucasus)].
The leaves are strongly fragrant and are used as a substitute for tea in Shaanxi.