Black ironwood is a small to medium sized tree with slender branches, commonly 15 - 25 feet in height, usually taller than broad. It has an upright crown of moderate density, with a rounded to narrow pyramidal but often irregular shape. The bark is dark gray, rough, and furrowed. Leaves are opposite, simple, entire, oval-shaped, leathery, attractive, bright glossy green above, 1 - 1 1/2 inches long with a notch at the apex. Unfolding leaves are pinkish. Flowers are small, greenish, star-shaped, without petals, borne in the leaf axils and inconspicuous. Fruit is a juicy berry, oval or nearly round, about 1/3 inch long ripening to a purplish red, edible and sweet, attract birds and other animals. The fruit has a single seed, used for propagation. The tree's common name is appropriate since it has the densest wood of any north american tree, the wood is used in making cabinets. Black ironwood grows well in moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils with a top layer of humus. It grows very slowly, but as it ages its character and structure take over and it becomes a highly noticeable member of any landscape. It is as well a very long lived tree that may be used as a small specimen tree in residential landscapes, as a street tree or as a large shrub in the background or under full sun around perimeters. Black ironwood is similar to darling plum.