Compact evergreen shrub or small tree. In the wild this may become a tree to 10 m tall as on the Errinundra Plateau in Victoria. Branchlets reddish with ridges running down from the base of the leaves. Leaves entire, narrow lanceolate to broadly oblanceolate, mostly 5-11 cm long, shortly pointed at the tip and tapering to the base, shiny on both sides but paler beneath. Numerous oil dots visible with hand lens. Leaf stalk thick, red, 2-4 mm long. Flowers with sexes on different plants, cream, 1-2 cm wide, 8-12 in terminal clusters; late spring to early summer. Sepals 2-3, fused and soon shed. Petals 4-8, strap-like. Carpel solitary. Fruit dark red becoming shiny black, grooved; stalk to 2.5 cm long. [Drimys aromatica (dc.) f. Muell., Drimys lanceolata (Poir.) Baill.]
NSW, Vic, Tas
Grows naturally in cool temperate rainforest, or edges, in montane gullies to alt. 1200 m. Rare in cultivation. Tasmannia insipida DC. and T. purpurascens (J.W. Vick.) A. C. Sm. are occasionally grown; they both have leaves more than 8 cm long, the former has leaf stalks 2-4 mm long and stalkless carpels and berries, the latter stalkless oblanceolate leaves 3-5 cm wide and stalkless carpels and berries.
Dried fruit used as a pepper substitute.
Shiny red stems and leaf stalks; petals 4-8, strap-like; carpel solitary in female flowers.
Source: (1997). Winteraceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.