Description from Flora of China
Rhamnus cavaleriei H. Léveillé (10 May 1911), not H. Léveillé (5 Dec 1911); R. heterophylla var. oblongifolia E. Pritzel.
Shrubs low, climbing, dioecious, to 2 m tall, unarmed. Young branches and branchlets slender, densely pubescent. Stipules subulate or linear-lanceolate, shorter than petioles, persistent; petiole 2-7 mm, densely pubescent; leaf blade abaxially pale green, adaxially vivid green, oblong, ovate-elliptic, or ovate-oblong, 1.5-4.5 × 1-2.2 cm, papery to subleathery, abaxially pubescent in vein axils and on major veins, adaxially glabrous, lateral veins 2-4 pairs, slightly prominent abaxially, inconspicuous adaxially, base cuneate or rounded, margin serrulate or crenulate, ± revolute when dry, apex acute, often mucronulate. Flowers unisexual, 5-merous, solitary or 2- or 3-clustered in axils of small leaflike bracts. Pedicels 1-2 mm, sparsely puberulent. Sepals puberulent, adaxially 3-veined. Male flowers: petals spatulate, apex emarginate, with rudimentary pistil; ovary abortive. Female flowers: petals 2-fid, caducous, with very small rudimentary stamens; ovary globose, 3-loculed; style short, 3-cleft to half. Drupe black at maturity, globose, with persistent calyx tube at base, with 3 stones; fruiting pedicel 1-2 mm. Seeds abaxially with margined furrow extending over 4/5 of length. Fl. May-Aug, fr. Nov-Dec.
The fruit contains yellow dye, and the young leaves are used as a substitute for tea.
This species is variable. Pritzel (Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 29: 459. 1900) published Rhamnus heterophylla var. oblongifolia as different from var. heterophylla based on "leaves larger, narrowly lanceolate"; however, we reduced it here in synonymy.
● Forest margins, thickets on mountain slopes; 300-1500 m. SE Gansu, Guizhou, W Hubei, S Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan.