Paliurus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rhamnaceae. The eight species are native to warm, dry regions of Eurasia and North Africa from Morocco and Spain east to Japan and Taiwan.
They are shrubs or small trees growing to 3-15 m tall. The shoots are zig-zagged, with a leaf and two stipular spines on the outside of each kink. The leaves are deciduous or evergreen, oval, 2-10 cm long and 1-7 cm broad, glossy green, with three conspicuous veins at the base, and an entire or bluntly toothed margin. The fruit is a dry woody nutlet centred in a circular wing 1-3.5 cm diameter.
Paliurus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Bucculatrix leaf-miners B. albella (feeds exclusively on P. spina-christi), B. paliuricola (feeds exclusively on Paliurus spp.) and B. turatii (feeds exclusively on P. aculeatus).
Evergreen shrubs to medium-sized trees, to 20 m tall. Young branchlets, axillary buds, petioles, and major leaf venation ± densely brownish pubescent, flowers and fruit glabrous. Leaves alternate; petiole (6-)8-20 mm, glabrous or subglabrous, with 2 erect, stipular spines restricted to vegetative shoots; leaf blade broadly ovate to broadly elliptic, 4-12 × 3-9 cm, papery or thickly papery, both surfaces glabrous, 3-veined from base, base obtuse to rounded, often ± oblique, margin crenate or obtusely serrulate, apex acuminate to acute. Flowers glabrous, in cymes or cymose panicles, terminal or axillary together. Sepals triangular or broadly ovate, ca. 2 × 1.8 mm. Petals spatulate, ca. 1.8 × 1.2 mm. Stamens longer than petals. Disk pentagonous, 5-lobed. Ovary 3-loculed; style deeply 3-cleft. Drupe disk-shaped, comparatively large, 2-3.5 cm in diam., base conical, apex flattened; wing thinly papery to leathery; fruiting pedicel 1.2-1.5 cm. Fl. Apr-Jun, fr. Jul-Sep.
Mountain forests, often cultivated in gardens; below 1600 m. Anhui, Chongqing, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang.