A robust deciduous shrub or small tree up to 20 or 30 ft high; young wood with a slight reddish scurf; winter buds grey. Leaves ovate to obovate, wedge-shaped or rounded at the base, the apex as a rule long and taper-pointed, finely, sharply and regularly toothed; dark, shining green above, smooth on both sides except for a short, scurfy down on the midrib and veins, 2 to 4 in. long, half as wide; stalks mostly winged, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Flowers creamy white, 1⁄4 in. across, agreeably fragrant, all perfect, produced in May and June in a terminal stalkless cyme, 3 to 41⁄2 in. across. Fruits oval, blue-black, 1⁄2 to 5⁄8 in. long, covered with bloom.
Native of eastern N. America from Canada to Georgia, west to Missouri; introduced in 1761. Although this species does not bear fruit freely in this country, it is well worth growing for its flowers and autumn colour, and as a small, handsome tree. It has been confused with V. prunifolium and V. rufidulum, but differs in the leaves being long and taper-pointed, with broadly winged stalks. It is the type of the small section Lentago (see p. 000).