The large shrub or tree up to 2 to 4 metres (7 to 13 ft) tall and has a similar width, it has ribbed branchlets that are often arched downward. It is dense with foliage; the leaves are actually enlarged petioles known as phyllodes. They are crinkly and the new ones are covered in hairs. The erect phyllodes are asymettric and have a lanceolate shape and are around 30 millimetres (1.18 in) in length and 7 mm (0.276 in) wide.

The bush is also full of long spines. It usually flowers between August and November producing an axillary flower-spike with small, bright yellow spherical flower heads and the fruits are brown pods 4 to 7 centimetres (1.6 to 2.8 in) long. The hard black seeds within have an oblong shape and are about 6 mm (0.236 in) in length and half as wide.

The spiny stipules that grow at the base of the phyllodes deter livestock from feeding on or too close to the plant