Stems: smooth, simple, from an extensively creeping rhizome with a few fibrous roots at each node. Leaves: ovate-lanceolate, acute, the upper sessile, the lower clasping at the base. Flowers: stellate, solitary on curved stalks in the axils at the backs of the upper leaves. Fruit: a globose red berry.

The stems of this plant grow four to eight inches high from a creeping rhizome. The leaves are narrowly egg-shaped, bright green and shining on both sides, and the little dark rose-coloured flowers grow on curved thread-like stalks at the backs of the upper leaves. The tiny sepals and petals are both wine-coloured at the base, the petals having yellowish-green reflexed tips. The berries are rounded and bright red. The Short-stemmed Twisted-stalk closely resembles the Pink Twisted-stalk, but differs from it in having a much more slender rootstock and shorter stems.