Native to eastern Asia. Unusual in being the only cold-hardy large tree in its family. Also notable for the tropical look conferred by big (7- to 10 inches.) leaves with five to seven lobes. On young trees, leaves may exceed 1 feet in width. Tree is open and gaunt in youth but eventually develops an attractive, rounded habit; reaches 4060 feet tall and equally wide, with a spiny trunk and relatively few coarse, spiny branches. With age, spines eventually disappear from trunk and larger branches. Tiny white flowers appear in flattish, 1- to 2 feet clusters at branch ends in summer. Tiny black fruit follows the blossoms; it is quickly consumed by birds. Seeds dropped by birds can sprout in fields and wet areas.