Myrtle of the river is a small tree or shrub, typically 15- 20 feet tall with a rounded, dense, shaggy, low branching crown with a distinct forked branching habit. It has gray smooth bark. Leaves are dark yellow green, opposite, smooth, elliptical, simple, entire, with short tapering tips and 1 - 3 inches long. Crushed leaves give a strong pleasant odor. Flowers open via a hinged lid in the floral envelope, white to pink in color, with many stamens but no petals, borne in small clusters on long stalks at the angle of leaf and stem. Insect pollinators attracted to the flowers. Fruits are small, round, waxy, black, berries with a rim about 1/2 inch in diameter, edible but not palatable. Birds eat the fruits, which are used for propagation. In cultivation, the plant does best on well-drained but moist soils with organic matter. Myrtle of the river is easily pruned into a small tree or shrub and can be grown as a specimen tree in partial shade for its showy flowers and fruits. Groupings of 2 - 3 plants are suggested. The plant is endangered in the wild in florida.