Herb up to 60 cm., with a short rhizome bearing almost distichously arranged leaves. Petioles not forming a false stem; leaf-blade narrowly lanceolate (to ovate outside East Africa), acute and attenuate (to obtuse and truncate outside East Africa); leaves and flowers simultaneous. Scape 15–40 cm. Involucral bracts early drooping and withering. Inflorescence conical to globose, with ± 15–100 pale red flowers. Pedicels 1.5–4.5 cm. long, drooping as fruit develops. Perianth-tube cylindrical, 1–1.5 cm. long (outside East Africa down to 3 mm.); segments spreading, ± lanceolate, 1–3 cm. long, (1.5–) 3–7 mm. broad, 5–nerved. Filaments filiform, 2–3.5 cm. long; anthers 2–3 mm. Berries 1–2 cm. in diameter.
NOTE. The Uganda material of S. cinnabarinus represents an especially long-tubed and narrow-leaved form of a widespread and heterogenous species. Lack of discontinuity makes specific or subspecific delimitation impossible. A full list of the rather numerous synonyms is given by Bjørnstad & Friis, loc. cit.