A robust suffrutex arising from a woody subterranean rhizomatous rootstock, the whole plant less than 1 m. tall. Leaves palmate (rarely subdigitate). Petiole up to 60 cm. long, arising directly from the crown of the rootstock, subglabrous to fairly densely pubescent with crisped hairs. Lamina up to 30 × 30 cm., chartaceous to subcoriaceous, very densely covered with crisped hairs when young, especially on the veins; indumentum appearing much sparser on the mature leaf owing to expansion of the lamina. Lobes (5)6(7), obovate, apex acute to long-acuminate; margin crenate-serrate to rather irregularly serrate-dentate. Inflorescence a group of spikes similar to those of C. arborea arising directly from the crown of the rootstock. Spikes at first very crowded, but elongating and becoming less dense at the fruiting stage, up to 60 cm. long. Basal bracts densely puberulous. Flowers sessile, with narrowly linear, pubescent floral bracts. Stylopodium well developed, conical, c. 2 mm. long, stigmatic surfaces free for only a very short distance. Fruit ovoid, slightly ribbed, 8–10 × 6–8 mm.
In open woodland and wooded grassland
Zambia Sasare to Petauke at 11·3 km., fl. 9.xii.1958, Poison 882 (K).
Zambia 88 km. W. of Chingola on Solwezi road, veg. 16.iii.1974, Drummond & Rutherford-Smith 6945 (K; SRGH).
Zambia 40·2 km. from Mumbwa on road to Kafue Hook. fl. 7.xi.1959, Drummond & Cookson 6194 (K; SRGH).
Zambia 83·7 km. E. of Mankoya on road to Kafue Hook. fl. 21.xi.1974, Drummond & Cookson 6724 (SRGH).
Zambia Mt. Makulu, fl. 27.ii.1965, van Rensburg 3082 (BM; SRGH).
in Fedde, Repert. 13: 20 (1914).—Tennant in Kew Bull. 14: 401 (1960).—F. White, F.F.N.R.: 312 (1962).—Bamps in Fl. Afr. Centr., Aral.: 11, t. 3 (1974); in Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 44: 109 (1974); in Distrib. Pl. Afr. 8: map 215 (1974). Type from Zaire.