A deciduous shrub of usually trailing habit, rarely more than 1 ft above the ground, not downy in any part. Leaves dull green, obovate, tapered at the base, bluntish at the apex; 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄3 in. wide; finely or obscurely toothed; stalk 1⁄8 in. or less long. Flowers 1⁄4 in. wide, greenish purple, with five rounded petals; they are produced during May and June singly, or in threes, on slender stalks 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long. Fruit usually three-lobed, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. across, crimson, covered with prickly warts; covering of the seeds scarlet.
Native of eastern N. America; introduced in 1820. This is one of the few warty-fruited species in cultivation, and is closely allied to E. americanus (q.v.). Its prostrate habit enables it to take root as it spreads, and thus it may be used where an interesting low ground cover is desired. It thrives better under cultivation than E. americanus, and bears fruit occasionally, but is never showy. In a wild state it inhabits damp spots.