This native perennial shrub is 2-6' tall and sparingly branched. Young branches are green and glabrous, but they become smooth, brown, and woody with age. Alternate leaves (up to 3" long and ¾" across) occur along the young branches of this shrub; they are densely distributed along these branches. The leaves are narrowly ovate, sharply serrated, pinnately veined, and glabrous (rarely sparsely hairy underneath); they have short petioles. The upper side of each leaf is medium green, while its lower side is pale green. The branches terminate in panicles of flowers about 2-6" long; these panicles are oblongoid to pyramidal in shape. The stalks of each panicle are light green and either glabrous or pubescent. Each flower is about ¼" across, consisting of 5 white petals, 5 light green sepals, 5 light green pistils, and numerous stamens (20 or more). The petals are much longer than the sepals, while the filaments of the stamens are much longer than the styles of the pistils. Where the nectaries of each flower are located, there is a narrow ring-like structure that surrounds the 5 pistils in the center of the flower; this floral structure is pink, orange, or yellow. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer and lasts about 1-2 months. Each flower is replaced by a cluster of 5 hairless follicles with short beaks; each follicle opens along one side to release its seeds (about 2-5 per follicle). The leaves of this shrub are deciduous and its root system is woody.