Branched shrub or rarely a small tree to 4 m high. Branchlets terete, greyish brown, glabrous, with prominent lenticels. Leaves: Stipules spinescent, up to 5 cm long. Inflorescences consisting of pedunculate glomerules, in groups of 1-7 in the upper leaf-axils; Flowers sessile, golden-yellow, fragrant, pentamerous. Stamens numerous, 4-5.5 mm, anthers glandless. Ovary sub- sessile, c. 1.5 mm, densely puberulous. Seeds elliptic, 6-8 by 4-5.5 mm, only slightly flattened;
Asia-Tropical: Philippines (Philippines present), Northern America, Pantropical present, northern part of tropical America present
Pantropical, probably originating in the northern part of tropical America, where the closest related species are found; now introduced to all tropical and subtropical regions. Burkill  stated that it was introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards from Mexico. Recorded throughout Malesia.
Exudes a gum; flowers used for perfume, pods for tanning; the bark has medicinal properties as an astringent.
Verdc., Manual New Guin. Legum. 1979: 168
Ross - in Bothalia. 1981: 407
Willd. - in Fl. Nouv.-Caled. et Depend. 1983: 29
Nielsen - in Fl. Camb. Laos Vietnam. 1981: pl. 6: 1-8
DC. - in Prod. 1825: 461
Pedley - in Austrobaileya. 1979: 308
Ross - in Bothalia. 1975: 471
Blanco - in Fl. Filip. 1838: 729
Wight - in Ic. Pl. 1840: t. 300
Backer & Bakh. f. - in Fl. Java. 1963: 556
Ross - in Mem. Bot. Surv. S. Afr. 1979: f. 80