- Wood apple is an erect, slow-growing tree with a few upward-reaching branches bending outward near the summit where they are subdivided into slender branchlets drooping at the tips.
- The bark is ridged, fissured and scaly and there are sharp spines 3/4 to 2 in long on some of the zigzag twigs.
- The deciduous, alternate leaves, 3 to 5 in long, dark-green, leathery, often minutely toothed, blunt or notched at the apex, are dotted with oil glands and slightly lemon-scented when crushed.
- Yellowish green flowers, tinged with red, 1/2 in across, are borne in small, loose, terminal or lateral panicles.
- The pulp is brown, mealy, odorous, resinous, astringent, acid or sweetish, with numerous small, white seeds scattered through it.
- The fruits can be eaten raw, or made into preserves and drinks, and the young leaves are sometimes eaten as a salad.
- The pulp and powdered rind of the fruit is applied as a poultice for insect bites and stings; the unripe fruit is used in the treatment of gum diseases, sore throat, coughs, dysentery and diarrhoea.
- The powdered fruit is mixed with honey and used to treat dysentery in children.
- The hard rind of the fruit is fashioned into containers and other snuff boxes.
The wood is made into paste and applied to the skin, reputedly as cooling effects, acts as a sunscreen, prevent and treat acne, and promotes smooth skin.