A deciduous shrub, usually 4 to 6 ft high, but said to become occasionally twice or thrice that height. Stems erect, scarcely branched, covered with stiff bristles. Leaves composed of three or five leaflets borne on a slender, sometimes bristly stalk 3 to 5 in. long. Leaflets oval, ovate, or slightly obovate, the side ones often oblique at the base; 21⁄2 to 5 in. long, usually more than half as wide; finely toothed; upper surface dark glossy green, and furnished with stiff short hairs on the ribs and veins; paler underneath; stalk 1⁄3 in. or less long. Flowers numerous, in one or more globular umbels terminating the shoot; each umbel 11⁄2 in. diameter, on a smooth slender stalk 2 to 3 in. long; flowers purplish yellow, very small, each on a stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long; produced in July. Fruits subglobose, 1⁄3 in. wide.
Native of China; introduced to Kew in 1893. It is an interesting shrub with handsome foliage, remarkable for its bristly (scarcely prickly) stems, which distinguish it from all other hardy Araliads.