A deciduous, twining shrub, with flexible, round, glabrous stems. Leaves ovate with a heart-shaped base, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, half as much wide, entire, rather pale or glaucous beneath; veins in seven to nine pairs, parallel. Flowers in a terminal, pyramidal panicle 2 to 6 in. long; very small, greenish, produced in late summer. Fruit oblong, 1⁄4 in. long, changing from green to red, then to black.
Native of Japan, where it forms a spreading, tangled shrub, rather than a genuine climber, but in cultivation it has reached a height of 40 ft when planted under trees. The foliage is neat and pretty, and when the plant is furnished with its handsome fruits it is both striking and attractive. But it does not produce them with regularity, and I have never seen it so good in this country as at Les Barres, in Central France, where it bears fruit abundantly. It is hardier and a better plant than B. scandens. A variegated form is in cultivation, whose leaves, especially towards the end of the shoot, are more creamy white than green.