The leaves of the Jumping Seed tree are simple, alternate on the branch with many leaves on one branch. Leaves can be up to 14 cm long with a 1 cm petiole. They are oval shaped, with serrated edges (like a saw). They are shiny dark green on top and lighter underneath and turn dark red before falling. They feel glabrous (smooth and hairless). The veins are pinnate.There is no stipule.
The flowers are in spikes 5 – 10 cm long. The upper part are tiny male flowers with yellow stamens. At the base are 2-5 female flowers which are larger on longer stalks.
Jumping Seed trees are monoecious having both male and female flowers.
The fruit is a two part red capsule. They are often eaten by insect larvae which move around in the seed making it look as though the seed is jumping.
The Jumping Seed tree produces latex which gives it its other English name – milk tree. Only seven families of Kenyan trees have latex so this is a good way to recognise a tree. The latex is poisonous and was used by hunters in Kenya to poison arrow tips.
The Jumping Seed tree is important for medicine and its leaves are protein-rich and enjoyed by animals.