An evergreen shrub or small tree with reddish-brown bark, which has glossy, leathery, oval-shaped leaves with a notched tip. The flowers are very showy, with purple filaments and yellow anthers extending beyond the petals. The fruit is a slender cylindrical pod.
Wildlife – The flowers are fragrant at night and attract many moths. Birds eat the fruits.
Large plants were used as wood for construction, tools, and fuel. An infusion or decoction of the leaves or roots is used as a diuretic and emmenagogue (a substance used to induce or hasten menstrual flow). The red fruits have been used to treat venereal disease.