Description from Flora of China
Shrubs, to 3 m tall, andromonoecious. Branches with needlelike prickles. Leaves 2-pinnately compound, with a pair of accessory leaflets at each division of rachis; petiole 20-40 cm, pubescent, with sparse prickles; petiolules 0.5-3(-8) mm; leaflets 7-13 per pinna, ovate to broadly ovate or oblong-ovate, 6-15 × 3-10 cm, leathery, abaxially yellow-brown tomentose, especially on veins, adaxially pubescent or strigose, secondary veins 6-8 pairs, base rounded, rarely subcordate, margin crenate to serrulate, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal panicle of umbels, densely fulvous-tomentose, unarmed; primary axis 0-5 cm; secondary axes 30-50(-60) cm; ultimate axes with a terminal umbel of bisexual flowers and 1 to several lateral umbels of male flowers; bracts persistent, linear, 0.8-1.5 cm, densely tomentose; umbels 30-50-flowered; pedicels 4.5-7 mm, tomentose. Ovary 5-carpellate; styles 5, free. Fruit globose, 3-4 mm in diam.; styles persistent, recurved. Fl. Oct-Jan, fr. Dec-Feb.
The first author circumscribes this species broadly to include material from both Taiwan (where the type was collected) and several provinces in E and S China. By contrast, Wen (Cathaya 15-16: 90-93. 2004) treated Aralia decaisneana as endemic to Taiwan, placing all populations on the mainland in her substantially revised A. chinensis.
● Sparse forests or scrub fields on slopes; below 1300 m. Anhui (Huang Shan), Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi (Longnan, Xunwu), Taiwan, S and SE Yunnan (Simao, Xichou).