- Principally found in humid and sub-humid tropical scrublands, physic nut shrubs were introduced and used as a hedges or ornamental plants, and can now be found as relic shrubs on abandoned mine and homestead sites.
- An erect shrub with one to several stems 2-4 m high reproducing by seed and suckers from roots and crown.
- Stems arethick and rather soft, coarsely hairy, exuding a watery sap when injured.
- Leaves are dark green, ivy like, smooth, heart shaped to 15 cm wide on a long leaf stalk. Margins 3-4 lobed.
- Flowers areyellow to green, small and inconspicuous.
- Fruit is dark brown when ripe, a fleshy globular capsule 4 cm long containing 2-3 seeds.
- Seeds are black with fine yellow stripes, bean-like 1.7 cm long smooth on one side but with a ridge along the other side.