A shrub propagating by root sprouts to form thickets, or a small tree with spreading, more or less hanging, branches.
Leaves alternate, simple, 2½-4 inches long, 1½-2 inches wide, broadest at or below the middle; margin sharply toothed; upper surface dark green, lower surface paler and net-veined.
Bark dark brown to reddish, breaking into thin, long, scaly plates, pores horizontal and prominent.
Twigs slender, smooth, green to orange to reddish-brown; lateral branches spurlike or sometimes thorny; pores circular, raised, minute buds smooth (without hairs).
Flowers April–May, in clusters of 2–5, stalks ¼-¾ inch long, smooth; flowers ¾-1¼ inches broad, white, fragrant; petals 5, broadest at the middle, rounded at the tip, and narrow at the base; stamens about 20.
Fruits July–September, in clusters with 15–30 fruits; fruit usually ¾-1 inch long, globe-shaped, red or sometimes yellow, conspicuously marked with pale dots; skin tough; flesh yellow and juicy, varying in flavor.