Bellyache bush is a squat, thick-stemmed shrub 2.5−4 m tall developing from a short, single-stemmed plant with three or four young leaves sprouting from the top. Young leaves are deeply divided into three roundedlobes, and are purple coloured and sticky. Older leaves arebright green, about 10 cm in diameter, and may have up to five lobes, the edges covered in coarse, dark brown hairs. The flowers are small, red with yellow centres, and found in small clusters throughout the upper part of the plant. Seed pods are smooth and oval, about the size of a cherry and 12 mm across; they contain three to four seeds about 8 mm long.