Trees or shrubs to 40 m tall; young branches glabrous to densely hairy; old branches mostly glabrous, sometimes sparsely hairy. Petioles 2-14 mm long, leaf lamina inserted on side rarely on top, broadly to narrowly grooved adaxially. Leaf lamina ovate to obovate, base rounded to cuneate or sometimes cordate, apex acuminate to acute, papyraceous to coriaceous; midrib raised, glabrous adaxially, prominent abaxially; secondary veins 8-17 pairs, uniformly curving upwards or straight and curving upwards only near the margins, loop forming towards margin; tertiary veins intermediate between reticulate and percurrent, rarely percurrent. Flowers bisexual, regular. Inflorescence terminal, leaf opposed to supra- or sub-axillary, solitary or rarely 2-3 together, appearing from young leaved or leafless shoots, pendulous or rarely curving upwards and overtopping the foliage, white to yellow streaked with red to purple. Flowering pedicels variable in length, slender. Lower bract absent. Upper bract variable in size, margins undulate to straight. Sepals 3, valvate, free or sometimes slightly fused at base, oblong to ovate, margins undulate to straight. Petals 6, partially connate at base. Outer petals 3, longer than inner petals, oblong to ovate, without claw, margins undulate to straight, rarely crisped. Inner petals 3, apically connivent or appressed at center, rarely free, over reproductive receptacle, rhomboid to cordate, clawed; claw shorter or longer than inner petal, glabrous. Receptacle strongly convex to flat. Stamens short and broad, sometimes elongated, glabrous, shielded by a truncated and broadened apical prolongation of the connective being glabrous to hairy; dehiscence extrorse; pollen in tetrads, inaperturate. Carpels 6-12, congenitally fused into a syncarpous ovary, glabrous; stigmas sessile, bi-lobed, slightly capitate; ovules numerous, bi-seriate; placentation parietal. Fruiting pedicels thick and woody to slender. Fruits syncarpous, globose to conical, sometimes conspicuously ribbed, smooth to rugose. Seeds numerous, ellipsoid to broadly ellipsoid; testa smooth; raphe thickened or not; hilum elliptical; rumination laminate in four parts. Base chromosome number n=8.
“Monodora myristica […] represents one of the most gigantic and certainly one of the most splendid forest trees of the whole of tropical Africa.”
West and Central Tropical Africa, East and South-East Tropical Africa