An evergreen shrub up to 10 ft or more high (generally smaller), much branched but not interlacing; young shoots of juvenile plants densely clothed with reddish-brown down. Leaves obovate or oval, round-ended, tapered at the base to a short stalk; entire and glabrous on old plants, often coarsely toothed and downy on young ones, 1⁄4 to 1 in. long, 1⁄8 to 3⁄8 in. wide. Flowers small, dull purple, produced singly from the leaf-axils, very shortly stalked. Seed-vessels roundish ovoid, 1⁄4 in. wide, ending in a spine-like tip.
Native of the North and South Islands, New Zealand, up to 4,000 ft altitude. It is of no great ornament, but is a curious, often dwarfish, small-leaved shrub which one might easily pass when in flower without noticing the blossom. A shrub sometimes grown under this name in British gardens is really P. divaricatum, a very nearly related and perhaps more interesting shrub on account of its dense interlacing habit of branching; its leaves are much less frequently entire on adult plants than in P. rigidum and its flowers are terminal. Of P. rigidum there is a healthy bush in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden.