Combretum apiculatum subsp. apiculatum, in Afrikaans commonly rooibos (red bush), is a small to medium sized tree that may branch much, growing bushy. Heights of 3 m to 10 m are achieved (SA Tree List No. 532). Taller specimens are usually found in the higher rainfall parts of the distribution of the species, those in semi-arid conditions remaining more shrub-like.
The South African distribution of the subspecies is in the northeast of the country, only in the provinces north of the Vaal River and KwaZulu-Natal.
The habitat is medium (1500 m) to low altitude woodland and bushveld. The tree grows in various soil types, ranging from loamy to sandy. The subspecies is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
Of the two subspecies recognised, C. apiculatum subsp. apiculatum is the common one and the only one found in South Africa. C. apiculatum subsp. leutweinii with smaller leaves is rare, occurring mainly in a few places in Botswana and Namibia.
C. apiculatum resembles C. albopunctatum that has glistening white scales on mature leaves and hairy fruit and C. nelsonii that has less twist in the leaf tips (Carr, 1988; Coates Palgrave, 2002; http://redlist.sanbi.org).