African Milk Trees are succulent shrubs or trees up to 8 m high with a milky latex.
The ascending and freely branching stems have 3 prominent wings down them.
The stems are green with paler green markings.
Down the wing edges are pairs of 3 mm long spines on a small tubercle.
There are no spine shields and the wing edges between the spines are smooth and green.
The obovate leaves on the wing edges are on a short petiole.
They have a mucro at the tip.
Inflorescences are a single cyathium or a small group between the spines.
Below the cyathia are two red ovate bracts around 4 mm long with a toothed edge.
There are five 2 mm long nectar glands on the rim of the involucre.
They are a pale yellow-green and resemble the petals of a flower.
The 5 or so male flowers, on pedicels, consist of a 2.5 mm long stamen with a red filament
surrounded by linear bracteoles with a lot of hairs on the upper part.
The central female flower is an ovary with 3 locules and 3 bifid styles.
The fruit are capsules up to 7 mm long with 1 round seed in each of the three chambers.