A small deciduous tree 30 to 40 feet in height with a trunk of 1 to 1 1/2 feet in diameter native to the southern Appalachians. The leaves are 6-18 inches long and have a prominent notch at the base. It grows on cool soils on sheltered mountain slopes and in coves and in protected valleys along watercourses.
The large, showy flower blooms in May and has several creamy white petals 8 to 12 inches wide. The bloom has an unpleasant odor.The fruit is cone-like and 3 to 4 inches long. The fruit is bright red when mature and later turning dark brown. Individual seeds are bright red and mature in fall.