A climber 12 to 14 ft high with twining stems, naturally woody, but often herbaceous in Britain, downy. Leaves more or less heart-shaped or ovate, three- to seven-veined, rounded at the end, often obscurely lobed, 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, with stalks nearly as long; clothed with pale down beneath, deep green, ultimately glabrous above. Flowers sometimes hermaphrodite, but usually unisexual, with the sexes on separate inflorescences, sometimes on separate plants, white; males on short, axillary panicles, each flower about 1⁄4 in. across, with six sepals, petals, and stamens. Females in racemes, similar to the males as regards sepals and petals, but with abortive stamens and three to six pistils. Berries about the size of small peas, red when ripe.
Native of the S.E. United States. Although introduced in 1759, it has never become common. Flowers in July.