The hardness of its wood gives this tree its common name, also suggested by the species name which refers to iron. The ironwood tree may reach 60-90 feet in height, with a thick trunk buttressed at the base; it has a conical bushy crown casting dense shade. Young trees have an ash gray bark which flakes off, in older trees the bark is dark gray or reddish brown. Branches are slender and smooth. The leaves are simple, opposite, narrow and oblong to spear-shaped, shiny, blue gray to dark green in color, red to yellowish pink and drooping when young, whitish beneath and 2 1/2 - 6 inches x 1/2 - 1 1/2 inches. Flowers borne along the branches, blooms have white petals and yellow stamens, are fragrant and 1 1/2 - 3 inches wide. Thrips visit the flowers. The fruit is a rounded capsule with 1-4 seeds. The tree is propagated by seed. For good growth, it requires rich well-drained soils. Ironwood is difficult to saw, it is mainly used for railroad ties and heavy structural beams in construction. Several parts of the tree are used in herbal medicine. Ironwood is an attractive ornamental tree because of its vivid green leaves and showy flowers; it is suitable for extensive lawns, parks and along roadsides.