A vigorous, woody climber, deciduous, 12 to 15 ft high, with slightly downy, slender stems. Leaves mostly trifoliolate, but sometimes pinnate with the basal divisions trifoliolate; leaflets thin, broadly ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 1 to 3 in. long, heart-shaped to tapering at the base, deeply toothed, often three-lobed, nearly glabrous, except for hairs on the nerves beneath. Flowers dull white, 5⁄8 in. across, in axillary panicles 2 to 6 in. long, produced in September and October; sepals very downy outside, spreading; stamens glabrous. Seed-vessels with silky styles.
Native of China and Japan, cultivated at Kew for over seventy years. It is not one of the most attractive species, although a vigorous grower and flowering copiously. Allied to C. vitalba, it lacks the beauty of that species in fruit, at any rate in cultivation.