Roughleaf dogwood is a small tree, to 16 ft., with flat-topped clusters of creamy-yellow flowers and hard, white fruit on reddish brown or gray branchlets. Leaves are opposite on green twigs, blades up to 4 inches long, roughly ovate with an abruptly drawn-out tip and a rounded to tapering base, smooth margins, and prominent veins bending toward the tip; upper surface sometimes slightly rough to the touch, lower slightly velvety. The upper surface of the oval leaves is covered with rough hairs while the lower surface is softly pubescent. Fall color is purplish-red. The flowers are about 1/4 inch wide, cream colored with 4 petals. They are numerous in broad clusters at the ends of branches, appearing from April to early June. The fruit is fleshy, rounded, white, about 1/4 inch wide.