Considering the description says it can be a “straggling” shrub, you might see how straggling this one is in the photos. It was definitely hard to photograph, as it was on the far side of a stream hard to get to.
I learned that the flowers are hermaphroditic, and the male and female parts develop at different times – which seems like it would make pollination difficult, however it seems as though some short-tongued bees and flies like the nectar and somehow successfully help the plant get jiggy with it.
This plant seems to be on the menu of lots of things, including deer, turkeys, birds and insects.
Alternate Names: Strawberry Bush Size: 2'-6' tall Family: Celastraceae (Bittersweet family) Habitat: Moist to dry forests Identification: "An erect or straggling deciduous shrub with smooth slender 4-sided green stems. Leaves opposite and lanceolate to narrowly ovate. Small, flat, greenish cream flowers on long stalks from leaf axils. Fruit a warty red capsule that splits at maturity revealing orange-red seeds. Flowers May-June, fruits September-October." From Wildflowers & Plant Communities