The delicate narrow leaves of this species are held all in one plane on a branch. This gives a striking appearance almost like a fern from a distance. Close up the leaves are dark green above and whitish or golden below, with long silky hairs. The tree reaches a diameter of up to 80 cm and a height of at least 25 m. The fruit split on the tree and the seeds and arils are widely consumed by many birds and mammals. The opened fruits can be found under the trees with a bright red interior and a duller reddish brown exterior with fine whitish spots. Be careful because there is another species with similar small leaves in this genus in the area. This other species is Xylopia cupularis which has less elongated leaves and no spots on the outside of the fruit. Another species, X. phloiodora, has larger leaves and larger spots on the fruit.
This species can often be seen as a young plant growing beside roads. It occurs in terra firma mixed species and Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest.
Distribution: Cameroon to DRC and Gabon.