Most Chileans would not think of this plant as worthy of cultivation because its commonly found in the fields and is thought of as a weed shrub. Still, if you look closely at it, you may discover several interesting features of this plant - it looks rather strange and is very thorny, which makes it useful as a plant for fences. Plus, it is very forgiving for the novice - it does not have any special growth requirements.
It is a shrub of up to 3 meters high, with straight, thin branches, which are somewhat ramose, and with strong, sharp thorns which are facing each other. The leaves are fasciculated in group of about 4, are entire, 1-2 cm. long, oblong, sessil. with 5 parallel-running and clearly marked nerves (this is where its name comes from). The flowers are whitish, small ( 5 mm.), with 5 petals, 5 stamens, 1 pistil. The fruit is a small egg-shaped brown nut of about 5 mm, protected by a cover. The plantblooms in August-October and the fruits appear in December - Janauary.
This plant grows at low elevations in flatlands, prefers sunny spots and tolerates well dry seasons. Occasional freezing is not a problem, although it is usually never covered by snow in its natural habitat.