Hibiscus aethiopicus is a sprawling to prostrate perennial that grows annual stems of about 30 cm. It resprouts from the rootstock after fires. The leaves are elliptic, sometimes hairy and have serrated margins.
The flowers are cream coloured to white, yellow or pink, without the central dark patch characteristic of several other Hibiscus species. The flowers are up to 5 cm in diameter. There is a staminal tube of 1 cm in the flower centre from which the stamens point outwards. Narrow, fringed bracts form a ring outside the calyx at the back of the flower (Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; Manning, 2009).