The rough twigs, and leaves that are very rough on both sides help to distinguish this tree. The tree grows in rich, well-drained soils of bottomlands and slopes. It is well distributed but scattered in Ohio. The hard, strong wood has been used for furniture, sturdy containers, and railroad ties. Both Native American Indians and early settlers used the inner bark for medicinal and other purposes. Several kinds of birds eat the green fruit and buds. Reportedly, the extinct Passenger Pigeon favored the fruit as a spring food.