Broad-leaf privet grows as an evergreen shrub or small tree to a height of 4–10 m. The brown bark is covered in small white lenticels (pores that allow gas exchange).

Pointed oval-shaped leaves occur in opposite pairs, and are 4–13 cm long and 3–6 cm wide. The upper leaf surface is dark green and glossy or shiny while the under-surface is paler with distinct veins. Leaves are hairless.

Cream or white tubular flowers with four petal-like lobes occur in branched clusters – each flower is 3.5–6.0 mm long. Flowers have a sickly sweet fragrance.

Berries are 9 mm long and 12 mm in diameter, and are green when young, turning red through to blue to glossy or purplish black as they ripen. Berries usually contain two oval-shaped ribbed seeds 5 mm long. Roots are woody, branching, thickened at the crown and mostly shallow.