A broadly domed deciduous tree which can grow up to 35m (115ft) tall. It has straight branches radiating from a short trunk. The bark is smooth in younger trees and ridged when mature, and is silver-grey or brownish-grey in colour. The green deeply lobed leaves are large, ranging from 10-25 cm long, the stalks are around 2 cm long. The leaves turn a vibrant red in the autumn, although it can be of variable shading. Both sexes are on the same tree, the male catkins being yellow pendulous filaments, and the female flowers are inconspicuous ovals. The acorns are set in shallow cups.
Planted as an ornamental in parks and gardens, and other urban settings for its autumn colours. Native to North America, introduced to Britain in 1724. Abundant in warmer climes, and naturalised occasionally.