True Kamani is a large attractive spreading tree up to 60 feet high, with a rounded head of dense foliage and rough grey bark. A reddish-brown hardwood is derived from the trunk. From this was carved many objects including canoes; the leaves of Kamani are large, stiff, shiny, leathery and oblong with a blunt tip. They are 3-8 inches long, arranged opposite each other and have closely placed fine parallel veins running from a prominent raised yellow-green midrib to the leaf margin.
When new, the delightfully fragrant flowers are small, 1 inch wide, and white with 4-8 petals. They smell like orange blossoms and were used to give fragrance to kapa cloth, and also for lei making. They are waxy and showy with golden yellow stamens and a pink pistil, and grow in clusters of a dozen or so flowers found hanging from a long stalk.