The Glandulosi are generally low-growing species of shady ancient woodland. Only seven named species occur in the UK and are mostly rare and scattered across the south. This species is one of the more widespread, extending to western Ireland, south-west Wales and the Midlands. It can be identified by the combination of small flowers with narrow white petals, densely glandular stems with hairs and slender prickles, and by the strongly textured leaves.
Flowers are about 1.5-2cm across. The white petals are quite small and narrowly elliptical (about 10 x 5mm). Stamens are equal to or slightly overtop the styles. Styles are pale green. The long-pointed sepals are covered in short glands and after the petals drop remain patent or erect.
Leaves are relatively large (the terminal leaflet often 8cm or more long), glabrous above, often convex, with sharply impressed veins which give a thick, rugose texture. Typically there are three leaflets, but sometimes five can be found. The terminal leaflet is broadly elliptical to slightly obovate with a short to medium acuminate apex.
The undersides of the leaflets are virtually glabrous - with only sparse short hairs on the veins.
The stems are bluntly angled to nearly round in cross-section with small, fine prickles predominantly on the angles but also on the faces. They also have numerous hairs and abundant short-stalked glands. In first photo below the sticky secretions on the ends of the glands have solidified into sugary granules. The older stem below growing in open conditions has turned a deep purple colour.