A shrub or small erect tree about 2 to 9 m tall. It resembles bilimbi in general appearance. Crown is dense, bushy and spreading. Bark is grey, rough and with prominent lenticels. Branches are ascending and leaves are clustered at the tips on greenish or pinkish branchlets. Each branchlet is 20 to 50 cm long with 25 to 40 leaves, which are arranged alternately. Leaves are thin, ovate or ovate-lanceolate in shape with pointed apex; green on the upper surface and blue-green on the underside. Flowers are small, light pink in colour, which are found in dense cushion-shaped flower head at nodes of the leafless branches, old wood and also on proximal branchlets of current year’s growth. Flowers are male, female or bisexual with four petals and sepals. Fruit is a drupe, somewhat round in the beginning, becoming shallowly six or eight lobed, greenish yellow when young, whitish when ripe. Flesh is firm, sour in taste with a hard, bony grooved stone, which contains six to eight smooth seeds.
Star gooseberry grows well in hot and humid climate and grows on a variety of soils including coastal sandy soils. It prefers moist soils for better performance. It is normally grown from seed. Seeds are collected from matured, white coloured fruit from the ground. No pretreatment is required before sowing. It can also be propagated vegetatively by budding, greenwood cuttings and air-layering but success rate is less when compared to seed propagation.
Fresh fruits, which are acidic in taste, are sometimes eaten raw or mixed with salt or sugar. Mixing of salts neutralizes the acidity. Fruits are also used to make syrups and sour and sweet drink, which is considered thirst quenching. Fruits are used to flavour various food items and processed into pickles. Wood is fairly hard, strong and tough and durable, if seasoned. Fruit is used as a laxative and also taken as a liver tonic.