Wingspan c. 8 mm.
The highly distinctive, violet or purplish spiral mines of this species are often the key to its discovery. They can be found on leaves of buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) or alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus), often several to a leaf, during August and September.
After the initial leaf-mining phase, the larva feeds externally on the underside of the leaves, creating small feeding windows, before pupating in a ribbed cocoon typical of the Bucculatriginae.
Adult moths are on the wing in June and July, and the species is distributed mainly in the southern half of England, with occasional scattered colonies further north