The Forest elder is an attractive moisture loving tree characterised with a dense rounded crown. This tree usually has a single trunk and branches from the lower part of the trunk. It usually reaches a mature height between 3 to 10 m. The natural distribution of the species extends from the Cape midlands and Eastern Cape through Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga to Limpopo province.

The bark is hairy on young branches and becomes grey brown, fissured and flaking on older branches and stems. Leaves of this tree are glossy, thinly textured. The white showy flowers produced by the Forest elder tree in winter attract many insects which in turn attract many insect eating birds to the garden. The fruit appears from June to October and takes the form of a creamy, brown ovoid capsule that split into 4 lobes when ripe.

Because of its small maturity size, Nuxia floribunda is suitable for planting in small gardens and containers as well. It makes an attractive street tree with its green foliage and masses of white flowers. The root system is non-invasive making this tree suitable for planting next to paved areas and buildings. The stem of this tree often makes interesting forms as it twists and bends into architecturally interesting shapes, which is unique to each tree. N. floribunda is frost tender and has moderate tolerance to drought. In colder areas, it is recommended to try and plant the tree in a sheltered, North or West facing position.