Erect branching shrub, 1– 1.5 m high, leafless for most of the time; branches grooved or ridged, with spines 1.5– 2 mm long, glabrous.
Cladodes in fascicles of 2– 3, 6– 15 mm long (2– 4 mm long in South Africa).
Flowers solitary or in 2– 5 fascicles, axillary and terminal; bracts ovate, 2× 1 mm, obtuse at apex; pedicels 4– 7 mm long, articulated in the middle or below.
Tepals white, 2.5– 3.5× 1– 1.5 mm; ovary 2-locular with 3– 4 ovules in each locule.
Berry red or black, 4– 5 mm in diameter, 1-seeded.
Erect, much branched coppicing shrubs (chamaephytes), 1.0-1.5 m high, appearing almost 'leafless' at times, as the small cladodes are widely spaced and deciduous in late winter to December. Rhizome compact, woody, covered by acute cataphylls; roots terete, long. Stems several, old and young, bearing a few innocuous applanate spines near the base. Branches curving upwards with many widespreading branchlets. Cladode fascicles placed far apart on branchlets, with 2-4 filiform cladodes, cladodes 2-4 mm long, appearing after flowering (January to July), deciduous. Flowers 2-4, in apical umbels, on short bare branchlets with occasional flowers lower down; tepals 3 mm long, cream or white with a green median stripe; stalks ±4 mm, articulated in lower half. Stamens with yellow anthers. Ovary with ±6 ovules per locule; obovoid, dark; style short. Berry ±6 mm in diameter, red or greyish black. Flowering October to November; in fruit December; with cladodes January to June.
Shrub, up to 1.5 m high. Roots terete. Stems longitudinally striate when young, branches recurving. Spines only on main branches. Cladodes 2-4 mm long, absent at anthesis, appearing Jan.-Jul., deciduous. Flowers: in clusters of 2-4 at ends of short branches, some scattered along branches; Oct., Nov. Fruit a berry.