Santalum album is a small evergreen tree that grows to 4 m in Australia, but in India it is much larger and can grow to a height of 20 m; girth of up to 2.4 m, with slender drooping branchlets. Bark is tight, dark brown, reddish, dark grey or nearly black, smooth in young trees, rough with deep vertical cracks in older trees, red inside. Leaves thin, usually opposite, ovate or ovate elliptical, 3-8 x 3-5 cm, glabrous and shining green above, glaucous and slightly paler beneath; tip rounded or pointed; stalk grooved, 5-15 cm long; venation noticeably reticulate. Flowers purplish-brown, small, straw coloured, reddish, green or violet, about 4-6 mm long, up to 6 in small terminal or axillary clusters, unscented in axillary or terminal, paniculate cymes. Fruit a globose, fleshy drupe; red, purple to black when ripe, about 1 cm in diameter, with hard ribbed endocarp and crowned with a scar, almost stalkless, smooth, single seeded. The generic name is derived from the Greek ‘santalon’ meaning ‘sandalwood’, and the species name from the Latin ‘albus’ meaning ‘white’, in allusion to the bark.