The leaves of Rapanea melanophloeos are dark green, although much sunlight upon them in the photo might cause doubt about that. Some gland dots occur upon the surfaces and lateral veins ascend slightly from the midribs.
The bigger veins of R. melanophloeos protrude on the lower leaf surfaces only. The lower surfaces are paler. The leaf margins are rolled under, while some leaves are wavy.
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 (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Pooley, 1993).