Vilva is a medium sized armed deciduous tree up to 8 m height with straight, sharp, axillary thorns and yellowish brown shallowly furrowed corky bark. The leaves are trifoliate, aromatic, alternate, leaflets ovate or ovate – lanceolate, crenate, pellucid punctuate, the laterals sub sessile and the terminal long petioled.
Flowers are greenish white in colour, sweet in scent, in axillary panicles.
Fruits are globose, woody berry with yellowish rind. Seeds are numerous, oblong, compressed, embedded in orange brown sweet gummy pulp.