An evergreen shrub or small tree from 6 to 15 ft high; young shoots and flower-stalks downy, glabrous elsewhere. Leaves always narrow in proportion to their length but otherwise variable; on young plants they are 1 to 2 in. long, as little as 1⁄8 in. wide, and conspicuously lobed their whole length; as the plants reach maturity the leaves become wider (3⁄8 to 1⁄2 in.), more or less shallowly toothed, often almost or quite entire, and of lanceolate shape; they are of leathery texture. Flowers rather bell-shaped, borne in May, four to eight together in a terminal cluster, each borne on a slender, downy stalk 1⁄2 in. long, very fragrant; petals nearly 1⁄2 in. long, oblong, blunt-ended, blackish crimson; sepals ovate-lanceolate, pointed, ciliate. Seed-vessels globose, 1⁄3 in. wide, woody.
Native of the South Island, New Zealand, at from 2,000 to 4,000 ft altitude; very local in its distribution. Its flowers are said to be the most fragrant of all New Zealand pittosporums. It is also one of the hardiest, and succeeds well at Wakehurst Place in Sussex, where there is a narrow bush in the open ground 28 ft high (1975).