A deciduous shrub 6 to 9 ft high; young shoots very dark green, densely covered with slender, bristle-like, mostly deflexed spines 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long. Leaves composed of three to five leaflets borne on a slender main-stalk 11⁄2 to 3 in. long and occasionally prickly. Leaflets scarcely stalked, narrowly oval or oblanceolate, doubly toothed except near the base, slender pointed; 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. wide; usually quite glabrous. Flowers small, greenish, crowded on a usually solitary umbel, each flower on a glabrous stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, the umbel itself on a main-stalk 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. long. Fruits black, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. wide, crowned with a very short but distinctly five-lobed style.
Native of Central and N. China, where Henry, Wilson, and Purdom collected it. Forrest also found it, or something very like it, more to the south-west (Nos. 10875 and 12585). It was introduced to cultivation in 1912. It resembles A. senticosus in the dense furnishing of decurved spines on the branchlets, but that species differs very much in its larger leaflets, larger much longer-stalked umbels, and longer unlobed style. A. giraldii is about the sparsest in its flowering of the cultivated species, the flower-heads being small and solitary. It grows well at Kew, the leafless shoots in winter being conspicuous on account of their thick covering of whitish spines. Flowers in July.