4. Gymnosporia variabilis (Hemsley) Loesener, Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 29: 446. 1900.
刺茶裸实 ci cha luo shi
Celastrus variabilis Hemsley, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 23: 124. 1886; ?Maytenus arborea H. Shao; M. variabilis (Hemsley) C. Y. Cheng.
Shrubs, to 5 m tall; twigs spiny, glabrous; terminal thorns sturdy, axillary ones slightly tenuous. Petiole 3-6 mm; leaf blade elliptic, narrowly elliptic, or elliptic-lanceolate, 3-12 × 1-4 cm (or varying sizes), papery, base cuneate, margin crenate, apex acute or obtuse; veins and veinlets tenuous. Cymes axillary, 1-3 × dichotomous; peduncle 0.3-1.3 cm; bracteoles ca. 1 mm. Flowers light yellow, 5-6 mm in diam.; sepals ovate; petals oblong, slightly longer than stamens. Disk slightly rounded and thick. Ovary confluent with disk for ca. 1/3 of length; styles short; stigma 3-lobed. Capsule subobovoid, red or purple, 1.2-1.5 mm, 3-valved. Seeds subellipsoid, ca. 7 × 4-5 mm, brown, shiny, basally covered by light yellow shallowly cupulate aril. Fl. Jun-Oct, fr. Jul-Dec.
● Rocky mountain slopes, meadows; 100-800 m. Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan.
Maytenus arborea H. Shao (Bull. Bot. Res., Harbin 20: 127. 2000 ["arboreus"]) was described from cultivated material in the Nanning Arboretum in Guangxi. Its affinity to Gymnosporia variabilis needs further study.