Dense much-branched evergreen shrub 2-5 m. tall; new shoots often spinescent; spines up to 5.5 cm. long; heartwood hard and black.
Leaves mainly in fascicles on slow-growing spur-shoots, drying greenish brown, obovate-triangular to oblanceolate-spathulate, 1-4 cm. long, 0.4-2.3 cm. wide, rounded to subtruncate at the apex, cuneate at the base, slightly revolute at the margin, minutely setulose beneath particularly on midrib and margins; lateral nerves in 4-6 pairs, indistinct; other venation indistinct; petiole 1-3 mm. long.
Male flowers in ± 3-flowered fascicles on older leafless branches, subsessile; calyx narrowly cyathiform, 2-3 mm. long, densely setulose outside; calyx-lobes 4-5, narrowly triangular, 0.5 mm. long; corolla yellowish, narrowly rotate, 8 mm. long, lobed to 1/3 or slightly beyond, glabrous; corolla-lobes 4, broadly tongue-shaped; stamens ± 12, inserted on the receptacle, glabrous; anthers 2.5-3.5 mm. long, exserted; rudimentary ovary narrowly conical, 1.5 mm. long, glabrous.
Female flowers solitary on the older branchlets with 4-5 densely strigulose and ciliolate bracts, subsessile; calyx cyathiform, 4 mm. long, lobed to beyond the middle, densely strigulose on both surfaces, margin ciliolate; corolla yellowish, conical in bud, 7 mm. long, lobed to slightly beyond the middle, glabrous; ovary broadly ovoid, 3 mm. long and wide, glabrous, terminating in 2 short styles; locules 4, uniovulate.
Fruit yellow or pink, subglobose, sometimes obscurely 3-4-angled, 1.8 cm. long and wide, glabrous, with scarcely accrescent calyx patelliform, 4-5 mm. long.