It is an herbaceous perennial that twines around other plants, in a counter-clockwise direction, to a height of up to 2–4 m, rarely 5 m. The pale matte green leaves are arranged spirally, simple, pointed at the tip and arrowhead shaped, 5–10 cm long and 3–7 cm broad.
The flowers are produced from late spring to the end of summer. In the bud, they are covered by large bracts which remain and continue to cover sepals. The open flowers are trumpet-shaped, 3–7 cm diameter, white, or pale pink with white stripes. After flowering the fruit develops as an almost spherical capsule 1 cm diameter containing two to four large, black seeds that are shaped like quartered oranges. The seeds disperse and thrive in fields, borders, roadsides and open woods.