Guettarda is characterized by its woody habit; interpetiolar triangular stipules; axillary cymose inflorescences with the higher order axes often distinctively scorpioid; sessile usually white to pink flowers; short calyx limbs; 4-9 calyx lobes, corolla lobes, and stamens; ovary with 4-9 locules, with a single ovule in each locule; and fleshy drupaceous fruits with a single, often rather large pyrene with 4-9 spaces or locules inside that each contain one seed. Guettarda is similar to Antirhea.
Guettarda has been circumscribed for a long time as a pantropical genus, but recently (Achille et al., 2006) the systematics of this group have been shown to be quite complex. These plants are far from understood, but happily our species is the type of the genus so its name will not change. Guettarda speciosa is a small tree found along tropical sea coasts through the Pacific Islands, Asia, the Mascarenes, and our region and in its westernmost range reaches a small area of the coast of East Africa.