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Mostly a shrub rarely a small tree and recorded possibly erroneously up to 15m, terrestrial; young stems, smooth, green with small inconspicuous scales. Leaves 5-8 x 2-5cm, elliptic, broadly elliptic to ovate, the apex shortly acuminate to rounded, the margin usually distinctly recurved, the base broadly tapering or rounded; the upper surface smooth with only very indistinct scales, the midrib very slightly impressed; the lower surface with distinctly raised midrib for almost its whole length, lateral veins 6-10 pairs distinct but not raised, scales small, brown, stellate to disc-shaped well spaced. Flowers 7-15 in an umbel, erect to horizontal; calyx a low ring; corolla varying from yellow to orange and pink to red, shortly tubular with relatively large and well expanded lobes, 1.5-2.5 x 2-3cm minutely scaly on the tube and base of the lobes; stamens 10, prominent and scattered round the mouth of the flower; ovary covered with subappressed hairs and silvery scales, style both hairy and scaly in the lower half, glabrous above.
Distribution Widespread over the whole of New Guinea.
RHS Hardiness H1b.
Awards AM 1977 (G. Gorer, Sunte House, Haywards Heath) to a clone ‘Elsie Louisa’; flowers Orange Group 29A, shading through 29B to Yellow-Orange Group 23B in throat.
Probably the easiest species to cultivate and certainly most attractive with very brightly coloured and freely produced flowers. It is often considered a weed in its native country since it grows at low enough altitudes to occur in pastures and is well known as being poisonous to stock. The red and pink forms seem to be more common in Irian Jaya at the western end of the island and rare in Papua New Guinea.