Perennial woody shrub to 3 m tall. Leaves ovate, mostly 14-18 cm long, rough, pointed, aromatic; margin cut; long-stalked. Flowers in 20 cm-long spikes, each verticillaster of 7-9 flowers. Calyx usually green, sometimes dark-coloured. Corolla to 5.5 cm long, tubular, vivid orange-red; mostly winter.
This plant is sometimes confused with S. fulgens Cav. but it has smaller, wrinkled leaves. Both plants are available.
Source: (2002). Salvia. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.