Native to central, southern and western Europe, northwest Africa and southwestwern Asia. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 4-5 m tall. The leaves are simple oval to lanceolate 6-13 cm long and 4-9 cm broad whith a finely serrated margin. The flowers are small, aboat 5 mm and creamy-white in dense cymes 4-10 cm width at the top if the stems in early summer. The friut is an oblong drupe 8 mm long, green at first, turning red, then finally black and contains a single seed.