Variable shrub or small tree to about 8 m tall with branches mostly spiny, the shoots whitish with matted hair. Leaves in clusters at the nodes, linear, lanceolate or obovate, to 4 cm long, 1 cm wide, the tip blunt or notched; the bottom surface either glabrous or densely hairy. Flower clusters mostly terminal, conical, to about 25 cm long; year round but mostly summer. Sepals to 1 mm long, sometimes shed at flowering. Petals about 5 mm long, creamy. Fruit capsule purse-like, to 1 cm long with a notched tip.
Two subspecies: B. spinosa subsp. spinosa is essentially glabrous and occurs at lower altitudes in lighter soils; B. spinosa subsp. lasiophylla is the hairier version occurring at higher altitudes. Both may become weedy on cleared open land and are aggressive colonisers of disturbed sites.
E and S Australia.
VIC: A street tree on Mornington Peninsula (Elizabeth St).
Source: (2002). Pittosporaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.