An evergreen shrub or small tree with alternate, leathery, elliptical leaves that are sometimes toothed near the apex. Flowers are developed almost a year before they function. The flowers are red. The flowering branches resemble small catkins.
These shrubs flower only once every five years.
Wildlife – It is a larval host plant for the dingy purplewing, Eunica monima, butterfly. The adult food supply comes from tree sap and rotting fruit.
A favorite for fancy wood turning because of its high contrast between the heart and sapwood. The wood has been used for fence posts, canes, handles, backs of brushes, mirrors, and ornamental articles.