Shrubs , to 3.5 m. Lateral bud partially hidden by petiole base. Petiole 3-10 mm, pubescent to glabrous. Leaf blade elliptic, broadly elliptic, oblong, or ovate, 5-15 × 2-6 cm, base acute to truncate, apex acute, acuminate, or blunt; surfaces abaxially green or glaucous, pubescent to glabrous. Flowers : hypanthium cylindric, ellipsoid, pyriform, or globose at maturity, 2-6 × 1-3 cm; tepals oblong-elliptic to obovate-lanceolate, 2-4 cm × 3-8 mm, apex acute; stamens 10-20, oblong. 2 n = 22, 33.
"Shrub 1–3 m; twigs and petioles glabrous or nearly so; lvs ovate to elliptic or oblong, 5–15 × 2–6 cm, glabrous beneath or sparsely hairy especially when young; fls aromatic, 4–7 cm wide; tepals brown-purple, linear-oblong; pistils 10–35; fr (pseudocarp) 2–6 × 1–3 cm; 2n=22. Rich mt. woods; s. N.Y., s. Pa. and s. O. to Ga., nw. Fla., and se. Miss. June, July. Our plant is var. glaucus (Willd.) Torr. & A. Gray. (C. f. var. laevigatus; C. fertilis) The more hairy var. floridus is more southern."