The compound leaves are alternate on the stems. The leaflets, stalks and midribs have small prickles.
Stiff backward-facing hooks on the rachis of the leaves (which are attached to the stems with little or no petiole) help the plant climb and also snag bushwalkers.
Flowers December to February are small, greenish on a branched inflorescence followed by scaly, spherical, cream-brown coloured fruits ripe July-August.
The globose fruit (around 12 mm in diameter) contains a tough brown seed surrounded by a thin, edible flesh.
It is reasonably cold tolerant, surviving light frosts. Seed takes 2-3 months to germinate.
PHOTO: Matt Tomkins LOCATION: Kenilworth State Forest
Human use: An acid drink was made by squashing the fruit in water. The canes and leaves were used to make baskets and huts. The thin, outer fleshy layer of the fruit is a traditional bush tucker. During early white settlement long canes were used for measuring (divided into chain lengths).
Photo: Robert Whyte