The simple, velvety leaves of Gossypium herbaceum subsp. africanum are spirally arranged on the stems.
They are three-lobed, five-lobed or seven-lobed, depending on both the particular plant and how much attention one wants to pay to the smaller lateral lobes. The three main, central lobes are incised about halfway down the leaf length in this species, differing from the lobing in the other two southern African species.
Digitate veins, usually five pale ones, radiate from the leaf base into the centre of the main lobes. Smaller veins spread from the main ones, varying in visibility.
The leaf colour is variable, from brightly yellow-green or olive green to deep green, the leaf texture initially soft, the margins entire. Leaf size is variable around 6 cm in diameter.
The leaf stalks are slightly over 2 cm long (Pooley, 1998; Onderstall, 1996; Letty, 1962; iSpot; Mannheimer and Curtis, (Eds), 2009; Leistner, (Ed.), 2000).