These mostly grow as a multi-stemmed shrub up to 3 m tall but can be a much-branched small tree up to 6 m.
The spreading branches divide freely.
The initially green bark becomes brown and is covered in lenticels.
Young branchlets may have some hairs.
The alternate leaves are on petioles up to 1 cm long that have a swollen base.
The stipules are up to 4 mm long, hairy and fall off early.
The blades are 4 to 7 cm long and vary in shape from ovate to obovate or oblanceolate to rhombic.
The tip is round or pointed, the margin finely toothed and the base round or heart-shaped.
The upper surface is dark green and the lower surface is slightly paler.
There are stellate hairs mainly along the veins on the lower surface.
The inflorescences are opposite the leaves near the branch ends.
They can be a solitary flower or a branched cluster of up to 6.
The peduncle is up to 1 cm long and the pedicels slightly less.
The hairy bracts and bracteoles are only a few mms long.
The star-shaped flowers are up to 3.5 cm across.
The calyx has 5 free lanceolate sepals around 1.5 cm long.
The outer surface is a pale green with some mauve areas when fully open.
The peduncle, pedicels and outer surface of the sepals all have stellate hairs.
The inner surface of the sepals is the same colour as the petals and has no hairs.
The 5 free petals are shorter than the sepals and only have hairs at the inside base.
Near the base is an inward directed flap 1 mm deep with a rounded edge.
There are hairs around the edge and a large pale nectary underneath.
The petals are mostly purple, mauve or pinkish-purple.
There is an androgynophore divided into 2 sections by a hairy horizontal flange that touches the
ends of the flaps on the petal bases.
The lower 1 mm section of the androgynophore has no hairs but they are present on the 3 mm upper section.
There are numerous stamens inserted onto the upper section of the androgynophore.
They have purple filaments and yellow anthers with 2 sacs that open longitudinally.
The densely hairy superior ovary has 2 locules with 2 ovules in each.
The locules may divide giving 4 lobes each with 1 ovule.
The single stout 1 cm long style has a green, 4-lobed stigma.
The fruit are drupes with up to 4 developing from each ovary.
Each fleshy lobe contains a single seed with a hard coat.
They mature from green through yellow then reddish-brown.
They have a shiny surface with only a few hairs.
The cultivar Grewia occidentalis ‘Lavender Star’ is also a large shrub or small tree with
purple flowers for much of the year.