Multi-stemmed, evergreen shrubs with stems up to 2 m high.
The stems and leaves have soft hairs that lie flat on the surface.
The spirally arranged, green or red leaves can be narrowly oblong to lanceolate.
They are up to 8 cm long, 6 cm wide and have a pointed tip.
Ovate male flowerheads, up to 2 cm long and 1 cm across are yellow or deep red.
At the base is a whorl of bracts about 2 cm long that have reddish hairs.
Each flower has a tiny, hairy bract at the base.
The 4 tepals are initially fused then separate except at the base.
The outer surface has long hairs.
The anthers insert directly into the tepal tips.
There is a 3 mm style and 0.5 mm long hyppogynous glands at the base.
The cylindrical female flowerheads, around 1 cm long, are surrounded by pale bracts.
Each red or yellow flower has a 2 mm, hairy bract at its base.
The 4 tepals are a few mms long and have long hairs externally.
The stamens in the tepal tips are reduced to minute, infertile staminodes.
The 1 mm high ovary has long hairs with 4 hypogynous glands at the base.
The 3 mm style has a slightly expanded tip with the stigma.
The flowerhead develops into an ovate, woody cone around 3 cm high and 2 cm wide.
The basal bracts are densely covered in hairs.
Each flower can develop into a 4 mm fruit with winged seeds.
The species and its numerous hybrid cultivars such as ‘Safari Red’ are popular as cut flowers.