This species is native to North Africa, Western Asia and Mediterranean Europe, where it mainly grows at the edges of the woods and in the thickets along the coasts.
Is a shrub or a small evergreen tree quite variable, ramified, tall up to about 3 m, even if specimens in the wild may reach the 5 m, with ascending branches with a reddish bark, which, with the time, tends to the grey and the thick foliage. In summer, the flowers, on a short peduncle, are axillary, solitary.
Of remarkable ornamental effect, due to the glossy foliage and the flowering, it is particularly suitable for mixed borders, informal and formal fences, as it may be easily shaped in various forms by prunings, and for this reason suitable also for the topiary art: the dwarf and compact varieties can be used as soil cover and low edges. It is cultivable also in pot, for the decoration of terraces and patios, n sandy soil, rich of organic substance, with regular waterings in summer, especially during the warmest periods.