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A shrub with 1-few erect, slender, few-branched stems to 3 m high; glabrous except at apex of bracts or sparsely to moderately rusty-hairy on axes and lower surface of leaves (populations north of Hawkesbury R.). Adult leaves narrow-obovate to narrow-spathulate, 8–28 cm long, 20–65 mm wide, apex usually acute to truncate, margins rarely entire or more often toothed with 0–3 pairs of teeth in lower half, base very attenuate, leathery but usually not harsh, minutely granulate when dried; both surfaces with prominently raised veins. Conflorescences few, 90–250-flowered; basal flowers opening first; involucral bracts mostly 5–9 cm long, bright red. Body of follicle 8–15 cm long.