This native woody vine produces stems up to 15' long that trail along the ground; some of the flowering stems are more erect and up to 4' tall. Old stems are brown and woody with scattered hooked prickles. Young stems are green with scattered hooked prickles; they are also more or less hairy. Alternate compound leaves occur at intervals along the stems. They are usually trifoliate with 3 leaflets; less often, compound leaves with 5 leaflets occur. These leaflets are up to 3" long and 1" across; they are ovate, doubly serrate along the margins, and mostly hairless. The underside of each leaflet is pale green, rather than white or velvety. Most leaflets have wedge-shaped bottoms and tips that taper gradually. The terminal leaflet has a short petiole (petiolule), while the lateral leaflets are sessile. Each compound leaf is connected to the stem by a long petiole. At the base of this petiole, there is a pair of small linear stipules.