Black haw is a shrub or small tree with stiff, spreading branches forming an irregular crown near the top.
Leaves are opposite, simple, 1½–3 inches long, elliptical, margin finely toothed, pointing inward or upward, upper surface dull green and not shiny; lower surface paler and smooth; leaf stalk green to red, slender, not winged, broadly grooved.
Bark is dark gray to brown, furrowed into rectangular plates.
Twigs are slender, rigid, with short lateral spurs.
Flowers April–May, numerous, small, white, in flattened, round-topped clusters 2–4 inches wide.
Fruits September–October, ½ inch long, elliptical, blue-black berry with a whitish coating; on long red stalks; flesh thin and dry but edible and sweet; seed solitary, oval, flat, in a hard covering that is grooved on one side.
Similar species: Ten species in genus Viburnum are known to grow wild in our state. Viburnums can be difficult to identify to species, involving (for example) fairly fussy characteristics of the leaves, such as leafstalk length, venation patterns, the number of teeth along one side, and other precise details.