A vigorous deciduous climber; young shoots rather glaucous, and, like the rest of the plant, quite glabrous. Leaves doubly pinnate (the upper and smaller ones simply pinnate), from 11⁄2 to 2 ft, sometimes more, long, and nearly as wide. The larger ones are composed of seven or nine segments, the one or two lowest pairs of which are again pinnately divided. Leaflets of variable shape and size, but mostly ovate or ovate-oblong, deep green above, glaucous beneath; 2 to 6 in. long, 1 to 3 in. wide; coarsely toothed, each tooth terminated by a minute abrupt point. Flowers produced in August in a sparse, slenderly branched inflorescence, each branch terminating in a cyme. Fruit top-shaped, 1⁄4 in. diameter, black. Bot. Mag., t. 8537.
Native of W. China; introduced to France in 1894 by Maurice de Vilmorin, and by him distributed as V. cantoniensis – a different and probably not hardy vine. Wilson introduced A. megalophylla for Messrs Veitch in 1900, and from their nursery it was largely distributed. In some respects it is the most remarkable of all hardy vines. Its leaves are larger than those of any other in cultivation, suggesting at their biggest the leaves of Aralia cordata. Planted in good soil and trained up a lofty post (it should be 15 ft high), this vine provides a very striking effect. It made growths 8 to 10 ft long in one season in Veitch's Coombe Wood Nursery.