Morella serrata is an aromatic, dioecious, much-branched shrub to small tree with lovely, leathery , scented leaves. Female flowers borne on the upper part of the catkin. Male catkins dense, 0.5–3 cm long, reddish or purplish-brown when young. The fruit is covered in white wax that was once used to make candles, hence the common name.
It normally occurs in swampy places along rivers, often with Salix, Parinari, Syzygium, Maesa, Dodonaea and Elaeodendron.