Tambourissa tau is a shrub or small branched bush, which grows up to 4 meters tall. It has a cylindrical trunk, with longitudinal fissures. The leaves are opposite and grouped in whorls at the top of the limbs. The inflorescence is inserted on protuberances all along the trunk. The small red flowers are solitary or clusstered and the solitary and globose fruit are borne on the trunk.
The bois tambour or drum wood is one of the most common and widespread species on the island. It is found in intermediate as well as in humid forests. The plant is pollinated by birds, flies and the day gecko. It produces many fruits that are dispersed by birds. The natural regeneration of seedlings in the wild can often be observed.
This species is commonly found in the wild, however, it is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. No conservation action is in place for the species, but it is protected under the forest restoration project. Its population is declining due to habitat loss and invasion of alien species.
The first sample of this plant was collected in the Perrier Reserve at La Marie on October 8, 1978 by David Lorence.