Redroot is a spreading shrub or bush that attains a height of between 30 and 120 cm, but can have a diameter that is much larger. It has numerous smooth reddish branches, the younger ones hairy, and a large and thick root, the red to brown, the cortex dark red. The leaves are ovate to oblong-ovate, tip acute, margins serrate, with three veins, smooth above and somewhat pubescent below. The fragrant flowers are quite small, white and numerous, contained in clusters that arise from the leaf axils. The petals number 5 and have long spreading claws, stamens 5, ovary 3-celled. The fruit is dry and 3-celled, with papery valves. The various species of Redroot can be found across temperate North America. It grows in dry to moist sites usually in sunny locations, and is an important pioneer species after fire and clear cuts.