An evergreen shrub or small tree 10 to 20 ft high; young shoots and leaves silky downy, becoming glabrous by late summer. Leaves alternate, of thinnish firm texture, oblong-lanceolate to oval, quite entire, tapered at both ends, pointed or rounded at the apex, 2 to 5 in. long, 3⁄4 to 2 in. wide, dark glossy green above, pale and indistinctly net-veined beneath; margins not wavy; stalk 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. long. Flowers 5⁄8 in. wide, produced singly or in pairs from the leaf-axils each on a stalk 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long; petals dark purple, narrow oblong; sepals 1⁄4 in. long, 1⁄8 in. wide, pointed; ovary covered with silky white hairs. Seed-vessels globose, 1⁄2 in. wide, downy at first.
Native of the North Island, New Zealand, where it is said to be rare and local. It bears a certain superficial resemblance to P. ralphii, but that species is amply distinguished by its permanently downy leaves and terminal inflorescence. But its closest kinship is with P. tenuifolium and P. colensoi, from both of which differs in its larger leaves.