Description from Flora of China
Acanthopanax (Decaisne & Planchon) Miquel; Panax subg. Acanthopanax Decaisne & Planchon.
Shrubs, erect or scandent, rarely small trees, hermaphroditic or andromonoecious, glabrous or pubescent, usually prickly, occasionally unarmed. Leaves palmately compound or trifoliolate; stipules absent or very weakly developed. Inflorescence a terminal (rarely axillary) panicle of umbels or a solitary umbel, secondary axes with a terminal umbel of bisexual flowers and 1 to many lateral umbels of later flowering bisexual or functionally male flowers. Pedicels not articulate or only slightly articulate below ovary. Calyx margin entire or with 5 minute teeth. Petals 5, valvate. Stamens 5. Ovary 2-5-carpellate; styles 2-5, free to base, or partially to fully united. Fruit a drupe, laterally compressed or subglobose. Seeds laterally compressed; endosperm smooth.
Nearly 40 species: E Asia, Himalayan region; 18 species (14 endemic) in China.