Dermatophyllum secundiflora is an evergreen shrub, sometimes becoming a tree, with a narrow crown and upright branches; it can grow up to 10 metres tall. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials. Although poisonous, it has also been used as a medicine and hallucinogenic.The plant, and especially the seeds, are narcotic and hallucinogenic. The seed contains the poisonous, volatile, liquid alkaloid sophorine, which is chemically identical to cytisine. It resembles nicotine in its action and is similarly toxic. Symptoms of poisoning, which appear within 1 hour, include nausea, violent and bloody vomiting, headaches, vertigo, confusion, fever, excessive thirst, cold sweat, respiritory problems, followed by convulsions and death.