The American emerald is compact and similar to the Dorocordulia and Somatochlora species, differing primarily in wing venation. The American emerald is generally metallic green with brown hairs and clear wings. The abdomen is green-black and thinly haired. There is only one species in this genus in North America. Similar to Somatochlora species, the American emerald has bright green eyes and clear wings. The thorax is black with brown hairs. The length of the body varies from 1.7 to 2.0 inches.
Common throughout Wisconsin, especially the northern half, its range includes the northern United States and Canada. It is usually found at sphagnum bog ponds, small lakes, marshes, bogs, and fens.
Mid-May to mid-July in Wisconsin.