Plants suberect, to 10 m, gla-brous. Leaves: petiole 0.6-3.5(-5) cm; blade elliptic, elliptic-lanceolate or oblong to ovate, to 15 × 7 cm, base rounded to cuneate, apex acuminate or acute to obtuse. Racemes 5-10 cm; peduncle 1.3-3 cm; pedicel 3-10 mm. Flowers sepals white or greenish white to red or purplish in age, ovate to obovate, 3-6 mm. Berries 4-6 mm diam. Seeds black, lenticular, 4-5 mm. Flowering spring. Hammocks, roadsides, and disturbed sites; 0-30 m; Fla.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; South America. In the West Indies, strips of bark from Trichostigma octandrum are woven into attractive baskets; the flexible stems are used as barrel hoops. The young leaves, cooked in one or two waters, are said to be a nutritious vegetable.