A medium to large tree 7 to 12 m in height. Straight or multi-stemmed with dense spreading crown. The bark is a smooth pale gray or yellow brown that flakes with age to expose pale bark patches with large lumps (not galls) sometimes occur on older trunks and main branches.
Leaves: Simple leaves, opposite, elliptic with tapering base and apex (50 x 20 mm)upper surface usually without hairs undersurface has hairs. The rib and lateral veins of the leaf are very conspicuous. Deciduous, leaves turn yellow and red in autumn (the specific nameerythrophyllum means red leaf)
Flowers: Greenish-yellow in dense auxiliary spikes about 10 mm in diameter appearing after the first leaves (spring-early summer).
Fruit: 4-winged fruit yellow to brown in colour 10 to 15 mm in length.
Wasps lay their eggs in the walls of the fruit and the larvae feed on the seeds inside the fruit. The Southern Black Tit taps the fruit to check if there are larvae inside, when discovered they open the fruit and eat the larvae.