The ′Ūlei is a well-formed or spreading Hawaiian shrub that produces white flowers during the winter and spring.The fragrant flowers bloom in clusters of 3-6 at the ends of branches and each flower has 5 petals. The fruits are white when they ripen and edible, although bland in taste. The leaves are compound, meaning they have many tiny leaflets (15-25 per leaf) and are dark green, glossy, and leathery. This shrub does best in xeric (dry) conditions.
The leaves and root bark of ′Ūlei have been used to treat cuts, while the seeds and buds have been used to make a laxative. The wood is very strong and has been used to make many things, including spears, harpoons, and musical bows. The ripe white fruits have been used to make a lavender dye.