This tree grows 4 to 10 m tall when cultivated, but up to 20 m tall in the wild. Its crown is drooping.
Its alternate, simple, smooth leaves form dense clusters at the tips of the branches. They are 10 to 15 cm long and 3 to 6 cm wide.
The flowers grow all along the fine twigs, either on bare parts or between the leaves. Their yellowish-white corolla is 6 to 7 mm long.
The fleshy, globular fruit (abiu) is 4 to 10 cm long and 4 to 8 cm in diameter. It has very thick pale yellow skin and hard, translucent white pulp. The unripe fruit contains a latex that sticks to one's lips. It contains 1 to 4 smooth, black, oblong seeds, 3 to 4 cm long.