The Surinam Cherry is a shrub or tree, to 25 ft (high, has slender, spreading branches and resinously aromatic foliage.
The opposite leaves, bronze when young, are deep-green and glossy when mature; turn red in cold, dry winter weather. They are ovate to ovate-lanceolate, blunt- to sharp-pointed, 1 1/2 long. Long-stalked flowers, borne singly or as many as 4 together in the leaf axils, have 4 delicate, recurved, white petals and a tuft of 50 to 60 prominent white stamens with pale-yellow anthers.
The 7- to 8-ribbed fruit, oblate, 3/4 wide, turns from green to orange as it develops and, when mature, bright-red to deep-scarlet or dark, purplish maroon (“black”) when fully ripe.
The skin is thin, the flesh orange-red, melting and very juicy; acid to sweet, with a touch of resin and slight bitterness. There may be 1 fairly large, round seed or 2 or 3 smaller seeds each with a flattened side, more or less attached to the flesh by a few slender fibers.