Erect or scandent herb to shrub, 0.3-1(-1.5) m, prickly. Young stems terete, sparsely to densely stellate-pubescent and prickly, with porrect, sessile or variously stalked trichomes, the stalks to 0.1 mm long, the rays 5-8, 0.1-0.3 mm long, the midpoints reduced or same length as the rays, sometimes with minute simple hairs, the prickles 1-4 mm long, 0.5-3.5 mm wide at base, curved, sometimes almost straight, pale yellow to gray or brown, glabrous, spaced 3-10 mm apart; bark of older stems glabrous, gray to brown.
Sympodial units difoliate, not geminate.
Leaves simple, the blades 2.5-6.5 cm long, 0.8-2.5 cm wide, 2-4 times longer than wide, ovate to lanceolate, chartaceous, drying concolorous, yellow-green, moderately to sparsely stellate-pubescent on both surfaces, with porrect, translucent, sessile or subsessile trichomes, the stalks to 0.1 mm long, the rays 4-8, 0.1-0.4 mm long, the midpoints reduced or same length as the rays, with 0-5 prickles on both surfaces; the primary veins 3-4(-5) pairs, the tertiary venation not visible to the naked eye; base obtuse to cuneate, sometimes truncate; margins lobed, the lobes 2-4 on each side, 0-1 cm long, extending to 2/3 of the distance to the midvein, broad-deltate, apically rounded; apex acute to obtuse; petiole 0.6-1.2 cm long, 1/3-1/4 of the leaf blade length, moderately to sparsely stellate-pubescent, unarmed.
Inflorescences apparently terminal or lateral, 1-3 cm long, not branched, with 3-5 flowers, 1-3 flowers open at any one time, moderately to sparsely stellate-pubescent, unarmed; peduncle absent; pedicels 0.6-1.5 cm long, erect, articulated at the base, moderately to sparsely stellate-pubescent, unarmed; pedicel scars spaced 1-4 mm apart.
Flowers 4-5-merous, apparently all perfect. Calyx 4-6 mm long, moderately to sparsely stellate-pubescent, unarmed, the lobes 2-4.5 mm long, deltate, apically acute to acuminate. Corolla 1.4-2 cm in diameter, pale mauve to purple, sometimes white, stellate, lobed for ca. 4/5 of the way to the base, the lobes 6-10 mm long, 1.8-2.5 mm wide, lanceolate to oblong, reflexed or spreading, moderately stellate-pubescent abaxially, the trichomes porrect, sessile, the rays 5-8, 0.1-0.25 mm long, the midpoints shorter than the rays. Stamens equal, with the filament tube 0.8-1.1 mm long, the free portion of the filaments 0.1-0.3 mm long; anthers 5-8 mm long, spreading, tapering, poricidal at the tips. Ovary densely stellate-pubescent in the upper 1/5; style 1-1.3 cm long, filiform, straight or curved towards the tip, stellate-pubescent for most of its length or only the lower 1/2.
Fruit a spherical berry, 1-4 per infructescence, 0.6-0.8 cm in diameter, the pericarp smooth, dark green with pale green and cream markings when young, bright red at maturity, glabrous; fruiting pedicels 1.1-1.9 cm long, 0.3-0.4 mm in diameter at base, herbaceous, erect to pendulous, unarmed; fruiting calyx lobes not elongating, 1/4-2/3 the length of the mature fruit, reflexed, unarmed.
Seeds ca. 10 per berry, 2.8-3.3 mm long, 2-2.8 mm wide, flattened-reniform, dull yellow to orange-brown.
Widespread, mainly inland eastern African species found from Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia to Uganda and northern Tanzania; reported to occur as far west as Chad by Brundu & Camarda (2013, no specimens seen); collected in dry Acacia (Vachellia) scrub, open places, disturbed vegetation and roadsides on sand, clay, loam and black cotton soil, sea level – 1500 m elevation.