The bark of young trees is smooth, reddish-brown to nearly black with white pores running horizontally. On older trees like this one, the bark is dark with a saucer-like scaly pattern. The underside of the leaves have dense reddish-brown hairs growing along the central vein near the base. Though the fruit is decidedly bitter, birds eat it and thus distribute the seeds. They are also eaten by grouse, bears, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.
The fruits were used to flavor rum and brandy, and the resulting drink was referred to as “cherry bounce.” Nearly all of the pale reddish brown wood of this valuable lumber tree can be turned into furniture.