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A deciduous shrub usually 5 to 10 ft high, occasionally a small tree up to 30 ft in the southern parts of its habitat; shoots glabrous and covered with a grey bark. Leaves oval or narrowly obovate, tapered at both ends, often blunt at the apex, shallowly round-toothed, 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. wide, of firm texture, glabrous except along the midrib; stalk downy, 1⁄6 to 1⁄3 in. long. The leaves are often crowded on short lateral spurs. Male flowers on slender stalks 1⁄2 in. long; females on shorter ones, clustered. Fruits round, orange to scarlet, 1⁄4 in. in diameter; nutlets ribbed.
Native of the south-eastern and central United States; introduced in 1760. It occasionally bears a good crop of its berries, which are very persistent on the branches. The branches do not break into leaf until May, and the fruits formed the previous autumn are then still remaining. From the red-fruited I. verticillata and I. laevigata, this differs in having the nutlets many-ribbed; in the others they are smooth. Its habit of producing short spurs crowded with leaves and flowers also gives it a distinct aspect.
I. amelanchier M. A. Curtis I. dubia Britton, Sterns and Poggenburg, not Weber – A rare species allied to the above, differing in its oblong leaves rugose beneath, solitary female flowers and dull red berries. It grows to about 6 ft high.