A small to medium-size evergreen tree with gray bark and a buttressed base. The leaves are alternate, simple, entire, shiny green, and leathery. The tree sometimes grows in clumps. The flowers are distinctive and arise from a triangular bud. The petals vary from white to cream color with a purple splotch inside. The petals are thick, resembling dried apple slices. The fruit is green and egg- or heart-shaped, maturing to yellow with many flat, black seeds.
Wildlife – Larval host of the giant sphinx moth, Cocytius antaeus. The fruit is an important wildlife food.
CAUTION: The seeds are reportedly poisonous. Early Indians and settlers used the fruit as a food and the seed as a fish poison. The soft wood has been used in rafts, as floats on fishing lines, and as corks for bottles. Seeds and leaves are insecticidal.