A medium sized, branching, finger-like sponge. Usually about 15 cm high and yellow / orange in colour. The branches are approximately oval and are rather irregular in diameter along their length, being typically around 1.5 cm. The sponge often branches in nearly the same plane forming a rough fan-shape. There is a short stem, rather thicker than the branches. The sponge surface has a velvety texture and is moderately firm but elastic.Axinella polypoides is still used by some authors (e.g. Hayward and Ryland, 1995). However, Axinella polypoides is now considered to be a separate species confined to the Mediterranean (Howson & Picton, 1997). Axinella dissimilis may be confused with other branching sponges e.g. Stelligera stuposa and Raspailia hispida. However the relatively thicker branches and grooves surrounding the oscula are distinguishing features.