Low shrubs , rarely over 1.5 m. Young twigs pubescent. Leaves drooping, strongly aromatic (similar to sassafras or root beer) throughout growing season; petiole ca. 10 mm, pubescent. Leaf blade elliptic to ovate, 8-16 × 3-6 cm, membranous, base rounded to widely cuneate, margins ciliate, apex acute; surfaces abaxially and adaxially pubescent. Drupe nearly globose, ca. 12 mm; fruiting pedicels of previous season persistent on stem, stout, 9-12 mm, apex enlarged. Flowering spring. Low woods, depressions, pond and sink margins; Coastal Plain and Mississippi Embayment; of conservation concern; 0-100 m; Ark., Ga., Miss., Mo., N.C., S.C. Lindera melissifolia has not been seen in Alabama, Florida, or Louisiana in over a century. The orthographic variants ' melissaefolia ' and ' melisaefolium ' have sometimes been used.