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An evergreen shrub or even a small tree 30 to 40 ft high, the younger shoots clothed with a pale brown, close felt. Leaves entire, linear, leathery, tapered at each end, pointed, 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄3 in. wide but made to look narrower by the rolling under of the margins; upper surface dark green and glabrous, lower one felted, at first white then brown, like the young shoots; stalk 1⁄8 in. or less long. Flowers solitary or in small clusters, axillary, 3⁄8 in. long, fragrant, each on a downy stalk as long as itself; petals oblong, deep maroon crimson; sepals narrower and one-third the length of the petals; stamens yellow. Fruits nearly globose, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. wide.
Native of Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales; in cultivation 1854. It requires winter protection at Kew but is hardy in the southern and western maritime counties, and has reached 28 ft at Exbury on the Solent, and 33 ft at Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire. Its flowering period extends from November to April, but the main crop is borne in the spring.