Shrub up to 2 m tall. Spines usually shorter than the leaves. Bark of young flowering twigs dark purplish-brown, often glossy, not usually deeply grooved and without black lenticels. Leaves narrowly obovate, usually at least 3 x longer . than broad, the margins coarsely serrate or entire. Inflorescence condensed, 1-3 cm, 6-15-flowered. Fruits black when ripe, red while immature. Fl. 5-6. Rocky slopes and gullies, 800-1500 m; also used as a hedge plant.