Much-branched shrubs, Combretum mossambicense plants tend to form their own thickets in habitat. The bark on older branches is biscuit-coloured or any of several shades of brown or grey, getting darker with age and remaining smooth. Some younger branches even turn purplish among upper leaves. Young stem-tip leaves may be rusty red and shiny rather than green and woolly; both forms common.
The petioles of fallen leaves remain behind, hardening and often curving down as in the photo. They serve as spines for limiting browser and other intruder damage. Sometimes they are quite short though, explaining why the bush is commonly called knobbly climbing bushwillow.
Above the dense bush body the upper branches may reach expansively or crisscross the sky like the contrails of jet planes, although those visible vapour trails across blue skies are associated with high altitude, far from airports and lowly bushes (Carr, 1988; Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; Mannheimer and Curtis, (Eds.), 2009; iSpot; http://redlist.sanbi.org).