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Subabul is a shrub or small tree usually growing 2-10 m tall, but occasionally reaching 15 m or more in height. The younger stems are green and usually densely covered in fine greyish colored hairs (finely pubescent). Older stems have a relatively smooth, greyish or greyish-brown, bark with numerous small raised spots (lenticels). The leaves (up to 35 cm long) are twice-compound (bipinnate) and have 3-10 pairs of branchlets (pinnae). They are alternately arranged along the stems and borne on stalks (petioles) 2-5 cm long. A small raised structure (gland) is usually present on the leaf stalk (petiole), or just below where the lowest pair of branchlets (pinnae) meet. pinnae are 2-10 cm long and each bears 5-22 pairs of leaflets (pinnules). These leaflets (7-21 mm long and 1.5-5 mm wide) are elongated (narrowly-oblong to lanceolate) in shape with pointed tips (acute apices), and are either hairless (glabrous) or have hairy (ciliate) margins. The flowers are borne in dense globular clusters (12-30 mm across), which look like a 'pompom' when the flowers open. These clusters are borne in the leaf forks (axils) on stalks (peduncles) 2-6 cm long, with one to three clusters present in each leaf fork (axil). Each of the small flowers has five tiny sepals (2-2.5 mm long), five small greenish-white colored petals (2-4 mm long), and ten prominent pale yellow or whitish colored stamens (6-10 mm long). The fruit are elongated (linear), flattened, pods with a pointed tip (beaked apex). These pods (8-22.5 cm long and 10-20 mm wide) are initially green in colour, but turn brown or reddish-brown as they mature. Several pods will usually develop from each flower cluster. Each of these pods contains 10-25 hard seeds (6-10 mm long and 3-6 mm wide) that are glossy brown, flattened (compressed), and somewhat oval (elliptic-oblong) in shape.