It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 3-15 m tall. It has smooth bark, stout branches and flattened terminal twigs. The leaves are opposite, elliptical or obovate, up to 5 inches long. The flowers are small, pale whitish-yellow, fragrant, with a four-lobed corolla.
The fruit is a globose to turbinate drupe 1 inch diameter, apiculate, bright yellow ripening dark purple, drying hard, dark brown, slightly rough with a single pyriform, dark russet seed. It is cultivated as an ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical regions. It is very tough in coastal and seaside locations, and has been successfully used in urban areas where air pollution, poor drainage, compacted soil and/or drought are common. It grows in part shade and in full sun. Soil tolerance is well-drained, acidic or alkaline clay, loam or sand. It has high drought tolerance, high aerosol salt tolerance and moderate soil salt tolerance.