Orphium frutescens has erect, velvety, branched stems. The finely hairy leaves crowd at branch ends. This means they grow close together on the stems while the older ones consistently drop off. This makes the yellowish bare stems lower down visible below the leaves clustering at stem tips. The leaves grow in opposite pairs, pointing upwards. The leaf shape is ovate or elliptic with entire margins that are rolled under. Leaf tips are rounded.
The flowers of the sea rose grow in small axillary clusters or solitary. The glossy pink petals form a five-pointed star. The anthers are yellow and twisted, opening at the tips. Note the colour and shape of new buds (Manning, 2007).