D. viscosa is a shrub typically measuring approximately 1 to 3 meters. It is part of the Sapindaceae - the soapberry family. The thin, narrow and light green leaves vary in shape and secrete a resinous substance. The shrub has yellow to orange-red flowers which may be only male or only female. D. viscosa flowers lack petals, and it is believed that the species may have lost the petals in the course of its evolution due to the plant’s exposure to wind. The tree bears a fruit in a 1.5 centimeter red capsule which becomes brown as it ripens. The fruit has two to four wings.
D. viscosa is native to Mauritius but is also widely found throughout the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world. It is very common throughout its range. In Mauritius, D. viscosa is found mostly in the coastal, dry and intermediate forest. The wind disperses its dry winged fruit. It is a pioneer species and can be used in ecological restoration projects, particularly in dry forests and coastal areas.
Due to its wide range, D. viscosa is considered Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The shrub is native to Mauritius but is also widely found throughout the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world.
The crushed leaves are said to smell like russet apples, hence the common name.