This species is characterized by its slender habit; its medium-sized, narrowly elliptic leaves that are generally sharply acuminate at the apex and tapered at the base; its few-flowered, congested, subsessile inflorescences; its cupuliform, denticulate, developed calyx limb; its short corollas; its medium-sized fruits; and its habitat in littoral forest and in humid forests on sand substrates. Ranarivelo-Randriamboavonjy et al. give the elevational range of this species as "700-1700 m", but this clearly is an error because the collections they cite for this species are found at generally 0-700 m; they also give the range as restricted to Toliara, but subsequently this species has been documented in littoral forests in Fianarantsoa as well (e.g., Tosh et al. 349A, det. De Block 2006). Tricalysia dauphinensis has been frequently collected near Fort Dauphin and in Andohahela. This species was previously confused with Tricalysia cryptocalyx, which is found in the same region in Toliara as Tricalysia dauphinensis, as well as across the central plateau; Tricalysia cryptocalyx has leaves that are usually quite a bit narrower and shortly obtuse to rounded at the apex.