A deciduous shrub 6 ft or more high, with erect, zigzagged, but not much branched stems; branches very pithy and slightly downy; winter buds hairy. Leaves alternate, roundish or broadly ovate in main outline, 4 to 8 in. long, nearly as wide, with two to seven (usually three or five) large pointed lobes towards the apex; upper surface dark green, and smooth except for scattered hairs; lower surface covered with pale down; stalk 1 to 3 in. long. Flowers white, produced during June and July in a one- to four-flowered cyme from the leaf-axils of the current year’s shoots; the common stalk is 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long and divides into two at the apex, the branches usually dividing again; flower-stalks 1⁄4 to 1 in. long; the flowers are 1 to 12⁄5 in. long and have an inferior ovary about 1⁄8 in. long and finely downy, which is surmounted by a narrow, finely toothed rim, which is the calyx; petals usually six, sometimes seven or eight, narrowly strap-shaped, cohering at first to form a narrowly tubular corolla but soon curving outward for over half their length, exposing the stamens and style; stamens as many as the petals, each attached to the base of a petal, filament 1⁄3 to 2⁄5 in. long and finely hairy, anthers very narrow, 2⁄3 in. long; the style is smooth, about 1 in. long, its base surrounded by a subglobose, fleshy disk about 1⁄12 in. long and bearing a shortly lobed, knob-shaped stigma. Fruit thinly fleshy (drupe-like), egg-shaped, about 1⁄2 in. long, containing a single, bony stone.
Native of Japan, whence it was introduced by Maries for Messrs Veitch about 1879. It is also a native of China, where it was found in Hupeh by Henry. This shrub must be regarded more as a curiosity than as an ornament in gardens, although the large maple-like leaves are handsome. It has not proved really hardy at Kew and is no longer grown there, the soft pithy shoots being too often cut by winter cold.