This introduced plant is a small tree or woody shrub up to 25' tall. The bark of the branches is brown and fairly smooth with small white lenticels (air pores); it becomes more rough with age. Some branches have thorn-like tips. The deciduous leaves are mostly opposite, but sometimes alternate; they are up to 2½" long and 1½" across. The leaves are oval, ovate, or obovate, finely crenate along their margins, and hairless (or nearly so); they have rounded bottoms and blunt tips. The upper surface of each leaf is medium to dark green, while the lower surface is light green. The lateral veins of each leaf are strongly curved; there are 2-3 lateral veins on each side of the central vein. Each leaf has a slender petiole up to ½" long. Small umbels of greenish yellow flowers develop from the axils of the leaves. Usually, the flowers are dioecious with either all male (staminate) or all female (pistillate) flowers on the same plant; less often, the flowers are bisexual (or perfect). Each flower is ¼" across, consisting of a greenish yellow calyx with 4 spreading lobes, 4 insignificant petals, and the reproductive organs. Male flowers have 4 stamens, while female flowers have a pistil. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 2 weeks. Fertile female flowers are replaced by small drupes that are nearly black. Each drupe is ¼" across, ovoid in shape, and fleshy, containing 3-4 seeds. The seeds are narrowly grooved. The root system consists of woody taproot. This woody plant spreads by reseeding itself.