Duranta erecta is a sprawling shrub or (infrequently) a small tree. It can grow to 6 m tall and can spread to an equal width. Mature specimens possess axillary thorns, which are often absent on younger specimens. The leaves are light green, elliptic to ovate, opposite, and grow up to 7.5 cm long and 3.5 cm broad, with a 1.5 cm petiole. The flowers are light-blue or lavender, produced in tight clusters located on terminal and axillary stems, blooming almost all year long. The fruit is a small globose yellow or orange berry, up to 11 mm diameter and containing several seeds. The leaves and unripened berries of the plant are toxic, and are confirmed to have killed children, dogs and cats. The berries change colour from orange to a dark purple similar to mulberries once ripened and are edible without side-effects. However, songbirds eat the fruit without ill effects.