A shrub or small tree, with spreading branches, and stout thorns or spines. Leaves. - On slender leaf-stalks, thin, rounded, toothed, sometimes lobed. Flowers. - White or sometimes reddish, rather large, clustered, with a somewhat disagreeable odor. Calyx. - Urn-shaped, five-cleft. Corolla. - Of five broad, rounded petals. Stamens. - Five to ten, or many. Pistil. - One, with one to five styles. Fruit. - Coral-red, berry-like.

The flowers of the white-thorn appear in spring, at the same time with those of the dogwoods. Its scarlet fruit gleams from the thicket in September.