Hobblebush is a large shrub with large, roundish leaves. The leaves have very prominent veins and are rough-textured. Flowers occur in large white clusters and bloom April - May. The red flat-topped fruit clusters last from late summer through fall. The fruits turn from red to black when ripe. Hobblebush produces long droopy branches that root when they touch the ground. Fall color ranges from yellow to red, often seen on the same plant. Hobblebush is found throughout the eastern US from Maine to Georgia. In the Great Smoky Mountains, hobblebush is often found above 4,500 feet.
Hobblebush forms dense thickets which are hard to walk through, in part because of their droopy branches that root when they touch the ground. These branches often "hobble" people who are walking past the bushes. Some Mountain Folk would break limbs off of the bush and hang them above their doors to keep witches away. It was thought that "anything that would hobble a human would hobble a witch". Hobblebush is an important nectar source for the Spring Azure butterfly.