Woody liana to 30 m (usually much less), stem up to 18 cm diam., in the absence of support a shrub with scandent or procumbent long branches or a shrub 1-5 m; ‘combretaceous hairs’ (often very scarce) and peltate scales present. Leaves opposite, chartaceous or subcoriaceous, elliptic or sometimes elliptic-oblong to narrowly so, 3.5-19 x 1.5-10 cm, apex usually shortly to long acuminate but sometimes acute or obtuse, base cuneate to rounded or subcordate, often hairless or almost so but sometimes pubescent or even densely so below and sparsely so above, moderately to rather densely yellowish- or golden-lepidote below, sparsely or very sparsely so above; venation usually eucamptodromous-brochidodromous, sometimes eucamptodromous or brochidodromous, secondary veins (5-)6-9(-10) pairs; petiole 0.6-1.5 cm long, glabrous to densely pubescent, contiguously to moderately yellow- to golden-lepidote. Inflorescence unbranched, stout, in opposite pairs in leaf-axils, 4-15 cm long, usually aggregated into terminal racemes up to 25(-40) cm long, at lower nodes in axils of normal leaves (usually fallen by fruiting), at upper nodes usually without or with much reduced subtending leaves, glabrous to rather densely pubescent, densely to contiguously golden-lepidote; flowers borne densely around rhachis but in nature all swept up to vertical position from ± horizontal rhachis, with long exserted stamens forming 'bottle-brush' syndrome. Flowers 4-merous, variable in size and shape, 10.5-17(-20) mm long, varying fromglabrous to rufous-pubescent on outside; lower hypanthium 3.5-4.5(-6.5) mm long, 4-angled, pedicel-like region 0.5-1.7 mm long, contiguously golden-lepidote,upper hypanthium 6-12.5(-13.5) x 4-6(-12.5) mm, with narrowly infundibuliform region below disk, 1.5-4.5(-5) mm long and abruptly demarcated deeply cupuliform region above disk, 3-6(-7.5) mm long excl. calyx lobes, moderately to densely golden-lepidote, often shortly pubescent on inside even when hairless outside; calyx lobes erect, 1.3-2.3(-3) mm long, apex acute to subacute or sometimes obtuse and apiculate, moderately to densely golden-lepidote; petals 4, very rarely absent, elliptic to suborbicular, 1.5-2.5(-3.2) x 0.8-1.5(-2) mm, usually shorter than calyx lobes but sometimes reaching about to their apex, apex obtuse to acute, sometimes apiculate or shortly acuminate, without a basal claw, glabrous, rarely sparsely lepidote outside; stamens 8, far exserted, filaments 12.5-22 mm long; disk densely pubescent at margin with straight or wavy hairs, distinct free margin 0.2-1 mm long; style 13-31.5 mm long, exserted about as far as stamens. Fruit often vinous-red, moderately to densely golden-lepidote especially on body, 1.2-3 x 1-2.9 cm, oblong-elliptic or elliptic to very broadly so, apex obtuse to rounded or retuse and usually distinctly apiculate, base rounded to truncate or slightly retusewith very distinct narrow pseudostipe 0.1-0.55 cm long, wings 4, 0.4-0.9 cm wide. Scales ca. 70-200 µm diam., marginal cells ca. 35-70.
America present, Argentina present, French Guiana present, Guianas present, Guyana present, Southern America: Uruguay (Uruguay present), Suriname present, Trinidad present, central and lower Amazon river-basin present, from E coast to almost the W coast of S America present, from about 21° N in western Mexico present
Most widespread species of the family in America, occurring from E coast to almost the W coast of S America, and from about 21° N in western Mexico to about 33° S in Argentina and Uruguay, absent in the West Indies apart from Trinidad; a typical forest liana, occupying all sorts of forest: evergreen or deciduous, tall or short, upland or lowland, dry or humid, on slopes or by rivers or lakes or in marshes, virgin, disturbed or secondary, and cut or burned, however, only sparsely scattered in very humid central and lower Amazon river-basin, and notably absent from French Guiana, Suriname and adjacent Guyana, where
C. rohrii and C. rotundifolium are more characteristic; about 10 specimens from the Guianas (GU: 10).