Erect shrub to 2 m, with stiffly divergent 4-angled twigs; lvs firm, on petioles 1-3 mm, lanceolate to elliptic or ovate, 3-7 cm, acute to acuminate, turning red or reddish in autumn, then deciduous; fls 5-merous, solitary or in cymes of 2-3 on axillary peduncles 1-3 cm, 10-12 mm wide, greenish-purple; pet narrowed to a very short claw; fr 3-5-lobed, 1.5 cm thick, crimson when ripe, strongly tuberculate; aril orange to scarlet; 2n=64. Moist woods; s. N.Y. to s. O. and se. Mo., s. to Fla. and Tex. May, June.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.