An Australian native from N. E. Queensland.
The shrubs are 1 to 2 m high with slightly drooping branches.
Small twigs may be zigzagged.
Alternately arranged leaves are in 2 ranks (distichous).
They are on a short petiole with 2 triangular stipules up to 2 mm long at the base.
The stipules persist.
The lance-shaped blades are up to 4 or 5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide.
The tips can be rounded or pointed and they may have a mucro (small abrupt point).
Flowers are unisexual with both types on the same plant.
Inflorescences are a solitary flower or a small cluster in the leaf axils.
The greenish flowers, up to 1.5 mm wide are on a short pedicel.
There are 6 sepals in 2 whorls with their bases fused.
Male flowers have 3 stamens with very short filaments fused into a column to which the anthers are fused.
Female flowers have an ovary with 3 locules and 3 styles.
The fruit are berries up to 1 cm across with the sepals still attached.
The fleshy berries mature from green to red.
Each of the 3 sections has 2 seeds around 4 mm long.
The species plant has green leaves while the cultivar Breynia cernua ‘Ironstone Range’ has leaves
that are burgundy or a deep red or brownish green.