Chinee apple is native to southern Asia and eastern Africa and was imported for its fruits by miners last century. It is now widespread in the drier parts of the tropics in cleared areas, areas of sparse vegetation, along water courses and in exposed areas, and can form dense thickets which restrict stock management, accessibility, and land production.
- A thorny, spreading deciduous tree to 8m high and 10m wide, with densely branched stems.
- Branches are zig-zag with a leaf and a thorn at each inflection point.
- Three-nerved leaves are rounded, alternate, glossy green above and almost white beneath, margins toothed, elliptical but asymmetrical at base.
- Small, greenish-white flowers in clusters in the leaf axils have an unpleasant smell.
- Round, edible fruits are pale yellow or orange when ripe, and similar in size and structure to a cherry.