Streptocarpus formosus is a stemless perennial growing a leaf rosette on the ground, only about 10 cm tall. The leaves are large and softly hairy. Many parallel veins curve across the deep green surfaces to the margins from the conspicuous, pale midrib. The veins are sunken on the upper leaf surfaces, protruding in ridges below. The leaf shape is narrowly elliptic to obovate with rounded tip and stalk-clasping base. Leaf size is about 45 cm long and 11 cm wide. Leaf tips tend to wither early in seasonal stress, although the plant may not be in trouble, continuing to grow the leaves from the base.
The species distribution is restricted to a small area along the southeast coast in KwaZulu-Natal in the Oribi Gorge to the Eastern Cape near Port St Johns. The habitat is sandstone gorges in forest shade, enjoying wet summers and dry, warm winters. The plants grow in well-drained soil among rocks.
The plant is classified as rare early in the twenty first century, given its limited distribution and some habitat degradation from forestry. It is still common in a few areas, however (Pooley, 1998; www.plantzafrica.com; www.redlist.sanbi.org).