An evergreen shrub 10 to 15 ft high or a small tree; free from down in all its parts. Leaves dark glossy green, of leathery texture, variable in shape and size, distinctly three- or five-veined from the base. In the adult stage of the tree they are mostly of oval, ovate or rhomboidal outline, broadly wedge-shaped at the base, not toothed; in young plants they are mostly more or less deeply three-lobed, and some similarly shaped leaves occur also in adult trees. The three-lobed leaves are much the larger and measure as much as 8 in. by 6 in.; the others vary from 2 to 5 in. long by 1 to 3 in. wide. Leaf-stalks usually long; in the case of the larger leaves as much as 5 in. Flowers inconspicuous, produced in August in solitary long-stalked umbels 1 in. or so wide at the end of the shoot, or in clusters of three to five. Fruit oval, black, ribbed, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. long.
Native of Japan, China, and Khasia. This araliad lives in the open air at Kew but is better suited in milder parts of the kingdom, where it makes a handsome evergreen useful for shady situations.
It is probable that the plant that Thunberg described under the name “Acer trifidum” was really this species, in which case its name would be D. trifidum (Thunb.) Makino.