Leaves, 5-12.5cm (2-5in), simple, ovate, non-toothed, and opposite. An understory tree 3-9.15m (10-30 ft) tall with flowers in clusters. Large pink or white bracts support the true flowers. Small bitter red fruits also clustered. Trunk may be checkered and dark. Twigs and branchlets sometimes green or dark purple. Flowers April-June, fruits August-November.
Ranges from southern Maine to northern Florida and west to Kansas. Widely cultivated as an ornamental tree.
Parts used and Uses:
Root-bark tea or tincture widely used for malaria and diarrhea throughout South during the Civil War. Also used as a poultice for external sores and ulcers.
Berries soaked in brandy for heart burn and upset stomach.
Twigs chewed for cleaning teeth