|A deciduous to semi-evergreen depending on climate. A dense, rounding shrub, 5 to 12 feet in height, with an upright habit, producing many suckers and forms colonies. The foliage is deep green and leathery, dotted with resin glands. It has no appreciable fall color. The male flowers are greenish catkins, both male and female flowers are non-showy, flowering in midspring before the leaves. Small grayish white fruits with a waxy coating are present in abundance from fall to spring.
Thrives in poor soils, including heavy clay, very adaptable, and is a nitrogen fixing plant. Often grows near the seashore, developing a wind sculpted look. It can develop discoloration of the leaves in high pH soils, but is not troubled by pests or diseases. Native from Newfoundland to N.Carolina, mostly along the ocean. Introduced into cultivation 1725.