Shrubs , to 3 m. Branches glabrous or sparsely pubescent, with typical zigzag shape. Leaf blade lanceolate or narrowly elliptic, 1.5-4 × 0.4-1.5 cm, mostly glabrous; surfaces abaxially frequently with spreading hairs along base of midrib. Inflorescences in axils of deciduous bracts, flowers in 4-5-flowered pseudoumbels. Flowers: ca. 6 mm diam., from exposed overwintering buds; tepals yellow. Staminate flowers: stamens 9; pistillode absent. Pistillate flowers: staminodes 9; style slender; stigma capitate. Drupe red, ca. 10 mm. Flowering late winter-spring. Within basins of limesinks or other depressional ponds or Carolina bays; 10-200 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C., Va. Litsea aestivalis is mostly an outer coastal plain species, although we do have a substantial number of coastal plain records for the extreme southern Appalachians.