0.5-3m tall; bark shredding; usually forming dense thickets through an extensive network of rhizomes. Leaves are alternate, deciduous, large and soft. Maple shaped. Finely fuzzy on both sides. Flowers are white and large (to 4cm across), petals crinkled like tissue paper, several in long-stemmed terminal cluster. Fruits are raspberry-like clusters of red, hairy drupelets, juicy, insipid to sweet depending on growing site and personal taste.
Open sites (clearings, road edges, shorelines, avalanche tracks) or open (especially red alder) forest; low elevations in the north, low to subalpine elevations in the south.