Tree to 20 m high with copious branching and dense foliage. Branches when very young and the terminal shoots densely ochraceous-tomentose, the hairs patulous, straight or slightly flexuous; internodes thick, subquadrangular, striate, more or less compressed, tomentulose becoming more or less glabrous, grayish or brownish, rather smooth with sparse lenticels. Stipules subulate, tomentose, 1.5-2.5 mm long, caducuous. Leaves 3-7-jugate; axis 14-35(-50) cm long, the petiole 4.5-9.0 cm long, subterete, striolulate, tomentulose, dorsally thickened at the base, the interjuge (1.5-) 2-5 (-6.0) cm long, tomentose, with two or more stipels at the base of each jugum above, acutely subulate, densely tomentose, 1-2 mm long. Leaflets opposite; lateral petiolules 2-3 mm long, the terminal ones 12-18 mm long; blades flexible-subcoriaceous, 6-12(-16) cm long, 2.5-4.5(-6) cm broad (the lower pair smaller, 1-5(-8) x 1-3(-4) elliptic-oblong, shortly attenuate and acute or shortly acuminate at apex, asymmetrically rounded or obtuse at the base, usually the lower half rounded, the upper half shorter and truncate, acutely biserrate with concave interdentation about 5-10 mm long, the teeth acutely callose-mucronulate, up to 1.5 mm long; when young pubescent above, soon glabrous except for the pilose midrib, green, shining, the secondary nerves conspicuous,'the minor veins reticulate, slightly salient or almost obsolete; light green or yellowish-green and tomentose with straight patulous trichomes beneath with prominent, striolate or smooth costa, the secondary nerves 10-14(-16) pairs, ascending, the angle of divergence 40°-50°, ending with a marginal tooth, the tertiary transverse nerves prominent, forming with the quaternary and quinary veins a clear and prominent reticulum. (Figs 4D, p 18; 14A, p 29; 26, p 64; 27, p 65.) Inflorescence axillary, 8-15 cm long, 10-20 cm broad, the peduncle stout, 2-6 cm long, striate, tomentose, usually trifurcate, the branches usually reddish or rose-yellowish, tomentose. Pedicels 1-3 mm long, hirtellous, subtended by three subulate bracteoles, 1 mm long. Flowers tetramerous; bud globose, subtetragonous, depressed, about 2 mm broad, tomentose; calyx 2.2-2.4 mm high, 5.0-5.5 mm in diam, the four lobes ovate, acute, 2.0-2.3 mm long, 1.6-1.8 mm broad; filaments in male or hermaphrodite flowers about 2.5 mm long, hyalino-pilose at the lower half, the anthers ellipsoid, obtuse, subcordate at the base, slightly granulose, 0.8-0.9 mm long; in female flowers the staminodia pilose at the base, the anthers 0.6 mm long, sterile; carpels 4, the ovary 0.8-1.0 mm, hirsute, the style 1.0-1.5 mm long, strigose near the base; in male flowers the ovary sterile, rudimentary, 0.5 mm long, the style 0.5 mm long. Follicles subglobose, slightly compressed, about 2.8-3.0 by 2.1-2.5 mm, minutely tomentose and densely hispid (the rigid trichomes up to 1.6-1.7 mm long), the persistent style about 1.5 mm long, strigose towards the base; endocarp cartilagineous 2.2-2.5 X 2.0 mm; seeds solitary, reddish, subglobose, slightly compressed, rugulose, 2.0-2.2 x 1.8-2.0 mm. Disc shortly hispid-tomentose.
South Colombia: upper region of Río Cauca and Río Timbío Valleys, between 900 and 2000 m altitude. Subandean forests and secondary thickets at the mountain slopes, especially on the western Cordillera in the departments of Valle and Cauca. In the specimens from the Cauca (Popayan) and Valle del Cauca region, the flowers are constantly tetramerous. The occurrence of flowers with 5 or 6 sepals is extremely rare.