Small tropical tree, to 20 feet, leaves are compound with numerous pinnate leaflets. Fruits are borne in loose clusters, which hang from the tree trunk and main branches. Individual fruits are up to 0.75 inch in diameter, near globose and angled. Fruits are generally too tart for fresh eating but are esteemed for jellies, preserves and pastries. They ripen in midsummer. There are no commercial plantings; but trees are in home gardens, and fruit is harvested from naturalized trees.
Phyllanthus acidus is called Ari Nelli in Tamil, and the Phyllanthus emblica (Amlaki) is Muzhu Nelli in Tamil. Muzhu Nelli is even richer in Vitamin C etc.