It grows up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 centimetres (12 in). Its fragrant flowers feature white, creamy or pale yellow corolla lobes. Fruit consists of 2 separate ovoid or ellipsoid pods, up to 8 centimetres (3.1 in) each.
Its numerous local medicinal uses include the treatment of heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis and venereal diseases. T. elegans is also used as an aphrodisiac. The Zulu name for this genus, iNomfi, refers to the use of their sticky, milky latex as bird-lime.