Tree to 30 m tall. Leaves mostly 2-pinnate except on flowering stems on which they are 1-pinnate, with 5-9 leaflets. Leaflets ovate to elliptic, 6-10 cm long, 4-6 cm wide, aromatic when crushed. Flower clusters grey-hairy; autumn to winter. Petals purple-black. Fruit purple-black, 5-6 mm wide.
The bark smells of celery.
In warm regions other species and their cultivars are grown, notably P. guilfoylei (Cogn. & Marche) Harms and P. fruticosa (L.) Harms. There is also the cool-tolerant P. sambucifolia (DC.) Harms with a natural distribution extending from Qld, S to Tas. [Tieghemopanax sambucifolius N.A.Wakef.]
Source: (2002). Araliaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.