This native tree is 50-90' at maturity, often forming a trunk that divides early and developing an irregular crown. The trunk bark of older mature trees is gray-brown and scaly, exfoliating only slightly, while the trunk bark of young trees exfoliates extensively, becoming ragged with patches of reddish brown, dull orange, or pinkish tan. The bark of branches and twigs is grayish brown and more smooth, while new shoots are light green and pubescent. The alternate leaves are 2-3" long and 1½2¼" across; they are ovate-deltate in shape and doubly serrate along the middle to upper margins. Leaf bases are broadly wedge-shaped with smooth margins on either side of the petioles. The upper surface of the leaves is medium to dark green and glabrous, while the lower surface is either pale green, or whitish green and glaucous. Fine hairs are often present along the lower ribs of the central veins. The petioles are about ½" long and pubescent. The blooming period occurs during mid-spring as the leaves develop. Individual trees tree are monoecious with both male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on separate catkins. Male catkins develop at the tips of twigs in clusters of 2-3; they are 2-3" long, reddish yellow, narrowly cylindrical in shape, and slightly drooping. Individual male flowers are less than 1/8" long, each one consisting of a tiny calyx with 4 lobes and a pair of stamens. In each catkin, the male flowers are partially obscured by tiny bracts. Erect female catkins develop from short spur twigs; they are ¾1¼" long, ½" across, narrowly ovoid in shape, and covered with fine hairs. Individual female flowers are about 1/8" long, each one consisting of a naked ovary with a pair of styles; neither a calyx nor petals are present. The female flowers are partially obscured by 3-lobed bracts; the narrow lobes of these bracts are nearly equal in size. The flowers are cross-pollinated by the wind. Shortly afterwards, the female catkins turn brown and develop a cone-like appearance, although they remain non-woody. The winged seeds of these catkins mature during late spring to early summer; they are distributed by either wind or water. Individual seeds are broadly ovate, tapering to a slender beak (not including the winged margins), and flattened. The root system is woody and branching. This tree reproduces by reseeding itself.