Cercocarpus ledifolius is a large, densely branching tree which can reach heights of 11 m (35 ft), although it is not uncommon to find the adult plant as a shrub as short as 1m (3ft). Its leathery, sticky, dark green leaves are up to 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) long and lance-shaped, and the edges may curl under. The flower consists of a small tan tube from which protrudes a long, plumelike style covered in luxuriant tan hairs. The flowers are arranged in inflorescences of up to 3. The fruit is a hairy achene one half to just over one centimeter (0.2-0.4 inches) long.