Vigorous woody climber or scrambler with stems to 12 m, found on the margins of rainforest and along the banks of streams, especially in rocky areas, from north-east NSW to north-east Qld; endemic to Australia. There are some weedy exotics also from the Caesalpinia genus, the one that most looks like this has reddish-brown hairy stems.

Stems bear sharp, curved, reflexed (backward-pointing) prickles, the bark becoming somewhat corky with age.

Leaves compound (bipinnate, or twice-divided), opposite, to 40cm in length, having 4-7 pairs of secondary pinnae, each pinna bearing 14-16 dark green obovate leaflets to 3 cm by 2 cm.

Form. Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers dull yellow, to about 2cm across, the stamens barely protruding; borne in terminal panicles to about 30cm in length. Appear Aug to Nov.

Fruit a flattened, winged pod to 5cm by 1.5cm, containing a single, patterned seed about 2cm long. Ripe Dec to March.

Flowers attractive to butterflies.

Propagation by scarified seed.

Requires good drainage. Moderately frost tolerant. Useful for preventing pedestrian access. Seeds very decorative.

Thorns. Photo: Robert Whyte