Java olive is a soft wooded tree that grows up to 115 feet high. In tea growing regions the soft wood is used to make tea chests.
The tree has smooth, grayish-white bark and a fibrous inner bark. The large, palmately compound leaves are crowded at the ends of the branches and have 5-9 leaflets. The foul smelling flowers are bell-shaped, 5-lobed, yellowish green when they open and later turn deep red. The woody, bright-red fruit consist of 1-5 spreading follicles that are armed with stiff stinging bristles along the inner margins. Each follicle splits to reveal up to 17 blue-black seeds attached to the inner margins.
(Barwick, M. 2004. Tropical & Subtropical Trees: An Encyclopedia. Staples, G. W. & D. R. Herbst. 2005. A Tropical Garden Flora.)