Spreading shrub reaching 3 metres in height. Leaves are variable and may be spoon-shaped, wedge-shaped or rounded, but always have a varnished appearance. The inconspicuous flowers are followed by large winged capsules vaguely reminiscent of the flowers of the hop plant (hence the common name). These papery, four-winged fruits occur in shades of red and purple, becoming pale brown and dry at maturity. They each contain several dark seeds.