A tree that can grow up to 30 m in height. Bark is pale-grey and slightly scaly. Leaves once pinnate, spirally arranged, large, with a terminal leaflet and one to several opposite pairs of leaflets: stipules present. Fruits are drupes, oblong in shape. The shape is why they are linked to the western Olive (Olea europaea , Family: Oleaceae). Canarium actually belongs to the Family Burseraceae. Many trees of Burseraceae occur in the lowland forest of Malaya and also in the forest reserve on Bukit Timah in Singapore (E J H Corner, 4th Edition 1997).
Native to China, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, C. album was likely introduced and planted in Indo-Malesia for its edible olive-like fruits. The fruits are familiar locally, as the preserved Buah Ca-na snacks sold in corner shops. There is another species, the fruits of which are commonly eaten sweetened as snacks or salted and with porridge. This is the Chinese Black Olive (Canarium pimela; synonym C. nigrum; synonym C. tramdenum). On 29 May 2012, 16 yellow fruits of C. album (see photo), each about 3cm long and 2cm wide, were collected from under this Tree. The fruits containing the seeds were sown in an attempt to germinate them. After about 3 months, more than 10 seedlings germinated. The seedlings were carefully nurtured and it will be good if young saplings could eventually be planted in parks and gardens. This Heritage Tree had a girth of 2m when measured in Year 2005; (2.8, Yr 2012).