Strophanthus sarmentosus grows as either a deciduous shrub or as a liana up to 40 metres (130 ft) long, with a stem diameter up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in). Its fragrant flowers feature a white to purple corolla, red or purple-streaked on the inside. Vernacular names for the plant include "spider tresses" and "poison arrow vine". Habitats are forested areas from sea level to 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) altitude. The numerous local medicinal uses of S. sarmentosus include treatment of joint pain, head lice, eye conditions and venereal disease. The plant has also been used as arrow poison. S. sarmentosus is native to Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Angola.