Plants climbers, shrubs, or small trees; latex white. Leaves opposite on normal shoots, clustered on stunted shoots, petiolate to sessile. Inflorescences of few to many flowers or solitary flowers. Corolla tubes usually campanulate and shorter than the lobes, sometimes cylindrical and longer than the lobes, usually with an elliptic papillose spote beneath each lobe; gynostegia concealed within the corolla tubes; coronas inserted at the middle of, and usually hidden by, the corolla tubes; lobes clavate, subulate, triangular, arrow-like, or filiform, extra coronas of pockets or corniculate or filiform lbes inserted at sinuses of crolla lobes sometimes present; stamens inserted at the base of the corollas tubes; anthers deltoid to hastate, usually glabrous, rarely hairy; pollen in tetrads; nectaries located between the stamens at the base of the corolla tubes, pouchlike; stigmatic heads conical; pollen translators narrowly elliptic. Follicles paired, widely to narrowly divergent, cylindrical ovoid to narrowly ovoid; seeds with tufts of hair at one end.
Cryptolepis includes about 21 species. It is native to Africa and Asia, with most species being African.