A slow-growing, small tree with very large heads of red flowers which hang beneath the foliage. The leaflets are aristate, having an elongated apex. This species is less spreading than other brownia species, with some branches ascending. The leaves have 5-7 leaflets and are uniformly pinky brown when young. The inflorescences, which occur on the old twigs as well as the ends of the branches, are less densely packed than other species, but the flowers are somewhat larger giving a more lax look to the lanterns. The petals have a more magenta hue. The dark brown pods are not hairy. Brownea capitella is sometimes considered a subspecies of Brownea coccinea, which has small, bright red inflorescences and hairless green twigs. Close related species - Brownea grandiceps, Brownea ariza.