Plants are dioecious, male and female needed for seed-set, but also reproduces vegetatively. Red berries produced on female plants, late summer to winter.
Spine-tipped leaf-like cladodes (branch with the form and function of leaf).
Much branched. Slow growing to 1m.
Prefers full or semi-shade. Rare in dry woods and hedges, usually a relic of cultivation. Recorded from NE, SE, S Ireland.