Plants trees, up to 12 m tall, much branched, branches more or less dropping or arched; bark becomine grey, somewhat rough, slashes revealing young red bark; young shoots desnely white pubescent. Leaves petiolate; petioles 2-5 mm long; blades lanceolate- oblong-elliptic, 2-6 cm long, 0.5-2.3 cm wide, lower surfaces densely white tomentose, upper surfaces soon becoming glabrous and more or less shiny, bases cunetae, margins entire, tips acute. Male cymes subsessile, about 6 mm long, tomentose; pedicels 2-5 mm long; male flowers about 3 mm long; sepals ovate to elliptic, 3-veined; anthers about 2 mm long. Female cymes sessile, tomentose; pedicels tomentose, about 7-10 mm longat anthesis, elongating to up to 23 mm long in fruit; female flowers about 7-10 mm lon, enlarging to 23 mm long in fruit. Fruits 6-10 mm long, sutures obvious.
Barbeya oleoides grows in acacia-Commiphora bushland, evergreen scrub or open Juniperusforest, usually on limestone. It is known from regions N1-3 of the Flora of Somalia and from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In Somaliland, Eritrea, and Somalia, it is consider posionous to goats, but Thulin was not aware of any investigations in this regard.