The leaves of Rapanea melanophloeos are dark green, although much sunlight upon them in the photo might cause doubt about that. Some gland dots upon the surfaces and lateral veins ascending slightly from the midribs are visible.
The bigger veins of R. melanophloeos protrude on the lower leaf surfaces only. The leaf margins are rolled under, while some leaves are wavy. The lower leaf surfaces are paler.
Young leaves are purplish red, like the thin upper stems or some of the short leaf petioles. Stems become paler as they grow thicker, remaining smooth, but usually with conspicuous lenticels scattered along the surface, not clearly visible in the photo (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Pooley, 1993).