This spiny shrub has small, stiff, shiny leaves with 3-5 small teeth and, in the fork of each leaf, a spine which is longer than the leaf. The leaves are alternate, almost round (or wider at the top), less than 1.5 cm long and carried horizontally on the stem. The young shoots are often coppercoloured.
It is common as a small shrub on the edge of rainforest patches, though it is also found in the forest, and can grow as tall as 3 m.
The small greenish-white, bell-shaped flowers, which occur in spring, may go unnoticed, but they are followed, in winter, by orange berries, 5-10 mm in diameter, containing several pale seeds. The species can be easily propagated from seed (germination: 1-2 months) but is slow growing.
This and the other spiny shrubs Coprosma quadrifida and Hymenanthera dentata provide shelter and nest sites for small native birds.
Distribution: Mimosa Rocks National Park (NSW) to Gympie (Sth Q1d).