he winter buds are ovate to oblong-ovate, dark brown in color, and protected by 6 to 8 pairs of pubescent scales. Petioles are long and slender from 4 to 10 cm, with some pubescence at their apices. The deciduous leaves have five lobes, and are from 10 to 12 centimetres in length and breadth. They are cordate or subcordate, and rarely basally truncate. The lobes are broadly ovate, acuminate, and distally dentately serrate, or one might say crenately dentate, with the teeth broadly acute or even obtusish. The middle lobe is larger and itself frequently slightly three-lobed. The two basal lobes are smaller have perhaps one or two teeth on their margins. Young leaves have long silky caducous hairs, and retain some pubescence on their undersides at maturity
The trees are dioecious, with the usually salmon to brick red flowers appearing in early spring before the leaves fully unfurl. Staminate (male) flowers are held in 8 to 10 flowered nodding fascicle-like racemes. The slender pedicels are pilose or glabrate and from 2 to 4 cm long. The perianth is broadly campanulate and typically 4 mm long, with 4 to 8 unequal lobes. There are eight 8 mm long stamens, and no petals. Anthers are oval.
Unripe samaras with bristles and horns. Some specimens' wings have less overlap than these.
Pistillate (female) flowers are held in 5 to 7 flowered pendulous sessile or peduncled racemes, and are 2 to 3 cm long. Their pedicels are 5 to 10 mm long. The sepals are elliptic, obtuse, and 5 to 6 mm long. The petals are oblong, ovaries are densely pubescent, styles are short with two curled stigmas projecting past the petals.
The typically 3 cm long samaras hang from pendulous racemes, and drop in October. Bristles sheath the area containing the seeds, supporting the retained curly stigmas which have a hornlike appearance. It is these horns which give the plant its scientific and common names.