Myrsine pillansii is closely related to Myrsine africana and is similarly indigenous to South Africa. This rare species naturally occurs in low scrub or bush, or along streams at the margins of evergreen forest. Usually a much-branched shrub, and occasionally a small tree, the plant can grow up to 4 m in height.

The bark is grey to greyish brown and the leaves are glossy dark green above with a paler green below. Small, inconspicuous flowers emerge in November, followed by small berries that turn purple when ripe. Myrsine pillansii differs from Myrsine africana in that the leaves are significantly bigger (up to 50mm long) and that the fruit is about the size and shape of peppercorns, 1,5 to 3 mm in diameter.

The large Cape myrtle is a protected plant in South Africa.