Pterocelastrus echinatus is a hardy, evergreen, densely branched shrub or small to medium tree (2-5m) with angular branchlets often purplish-red. The leaves are alternate, lance shaped, thick, leathery with a dull, pale under surface, the leaf stalk and midrib is often reddish in colour. During autumn and winter compact inflorescence is borne in clusters of tiny white, cream or greenish flowers. It is often found on rocky slopes or in scrub forests and in shallow kloofs.
The fruits are three-lobed capsules with a distinct ridge and spiky horn on each lobe. The surface of the fruit is covered in a waxy bloom. These fruits become orange, red and sometimes brown when ripening.
It is a very neat, small,interesting tree that can be more used in cultivation.