Combretum apiculatum subsp. apiculatum 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 habitat is medium (1500 m) to low altitude woodland and bushveld. The tree grows in various soil types, ranging from loamy to sandy.
Of the two subspecies recognised, C. apiculatum subsp. apiculatum is the common one found in South Africa. C. apiculatum subs. 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).