He is a 1 - 3 m tall deciduous shrub. His branches are rigid, furcated, covered with spines standing off the branches at right angles. The bark is even, brown, often covered with lichen. The foliage is alternate. Individual leaves are elliptic-ovate with a serrated leaf margin. Flowers are white, 5-petaled, they appear before leafing. The cherry-sized fruit is dark purple, tart, round and covered with a waxy layer. It is not freestone.