A low, sometimes prostrate, deciduous shrub; branches crooked, formidably armed with three-forked spines, each fork 1⁄2 to 7⁄8 in. long. Leaves small, obovate, pointed, averaging 1⁄2 in. in length, mostly without teeth, sometimes slightly toothed. Flowers yellow, in short, few-flowered clusters. Berries globose, nearly black, with a bloom.
Native of the mountains of Crete and other islands of the Mediterranean. The leaves, spines, and flowers form a dense, crowded mass along the branches. It was introduced in 1703 but has always been rare in gardens.