Trichilia emetica is an evergreen medium-to-large tree, with separate male and female plants. It has a dense, spreading crown. The pinkish to light brown wood is the most important source of timber for the rural carving industry in southern Africa. It is used for traditional carvings, musical instruments, furniture, boats and canoes. In Maputaland several traditional items are carved including bowls (iziMbenge ), dishes for meat (uGqoko), spoons (iziNkhezo ) and head rests (iziGqiki).