A highly variable tree or shrub with soft, dark green foliage and peeling reddish-brown bark. The true species is rarely cultivated and of little significance to the nursery trade. Fortunately (or unfortunately) a startling number of cultivars are available. Most can be utilized as a specimen, companion plant, or addition to the rock garden. Plants perform best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Many forms are also surprisingly adaptable to part shade.