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DescriptionThis shrub develops first-year and second-year canes that are 2-6' high; the canes often bend or arch to one side, sometimes touching the ground at their tips. The slightly woody canes are light green to dark red, stout, angular, furrowed or ridged, and glabrous; they have sharp prickles less than ¼" long that are straight to slightly curved. The alternate leaves are palmately compound. First-year canes have palmate leaves with 5 leaflets; these leaflets are 3-5" long, 1-2¼" across, elliptic to ovate, and sharply toothed. Second-year canes have palmate leaves with 3 leaflets; these leaflets are similar to the leaflets of first-year canes, except they are a little smaller in size. The upper surface of the leaflets is medium green or yellowish green, indented along the veins, and either hairless or sparsely covered with appressed hairs. The lower surface of the leaflets is pale green with prominent veins; the vein undersides are either hairless or covered with appressed hairs, while the lower surface between the veins is hairless to sparsely hairy. The basal stalklets (petiolules) of the leaflets are light green or yellowish green and either hairless or covered with appressed hairs; they vary in length from 1/8" (for lower lateral leaflets) to 1/2" (for terminal leaflets). The petioles of the leaves are 2-4" long; they are light green to yellowish green and either hairless or covered with appressed hairs. The petioles have small prickles along their undersides. At the base of each petiole, there is a pair of deciduous linear stipules (less than ½" long). Second-year canes develop elongated racemes of 5-20 flowers about 2-6" long. The peduncle and pedicels of each raceme are light green to yellowish green and more or less covered with appressed woolly hairs that are white to pale brown; these hairs are non-glandular. The pedicels are ascending to widely spreading. The leafy bracts of each raceme are small, inconspicuous, and deciduous. Individual flowers are about ¾-1" across, consisting of 5 white petals, 5 light green sepals, a greenish compound pistil with multiple styles, and a ring of many stamens. The widely spreading petals are oblong to elliptic in shape, while the sepals are lanceolate, recurved, and densely covered with appressed white hairs. The blooming period occurs during the late spring and lasts about 3 weeks. During the summer, the flowers are replaced by fruits that are compound drupes. At maturity, these compound drupes change from bright red to black; they are about 1/3-2/3" in length and globoid to ovoid in shape. Each drupelet of a drupe contains a single yellow seed. Mature drupes are juicy and vary in flavor from sour to sweet-tart. Second-year canes die down after bearing fruits, but they are replaced by new canes from underground runners.