Habit: multi-stemmed, mound shaped shrub, can be thicket forming with smooth, dark reddish brown bark having horizontal blisters (lenticels). Leaves are simple and oval shaped; both ends becoming smaller and ending in a point and finely toothed margins. In spring when leafing out the leaves are reddish green, becoming a glossy, dark green throughout the summer and turning bright red in autumn. Fragrant, five-petaled, white flowers occur terminally in small flat-topped clusters of 5-6, anthers are pink to red. Fruit is a glossy berry becoming purplish black, and persisting into winter, as long as the birds don’t eat them first. Blossoms in May
Ecology: native to North America east of the Missouri River, typically found growing in moist areas such as streambanks, bogs, swamps, wet thickets, and near the coast on cliffs and dunes.
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, well-drained, acidic soil with high organic content, tolerating wet soil.
Self propagates strongly by underground suckers.