A tree to 20 m or more tall. Branches ascending on a short trunk; secondary branches somewhat drooping and the habit fairly open. Young shoots thinly hairy, purple. Leaves leathery, purplish when young becoming dark green above, paler beneath and folded upwards, 6-12 cm long, mostly 5-6 cm wide, oblanceolate, hairless beneath except for the tufted vein axils and some hairs along the veins; upper surface rough at first, becoming smooth; serrations somewhat rounded, tip narrowed abruptly to a point. Fruit purple-tinged.
This clone does not appear to sucker; it is rare in cultivation in Europe but quite widely planted in Victoria where it can withstand dry conditions although becoming rather straggly.
The names U. glabra 'Purpurea' and U. procera 'Purpurea' have probably been incorrectly applied to this cultivar.
A herbarium specimen of young leaves of this cultivar labelled U. purpurea and obtained from the C.A. Nobelius Nursery in Emerald in 1900 is held at the National Herbarium of Victoria.
Photographs held by the National Herbarium of New South Wales show U. montana var. purpurea growing in the State Nursery, Campbelltown in 1907.
Distinctive colour and texture; purplish colouration of young shoots, leaves, new growth and fruits; thick, upfolded leaves.
NSW: Bathurst (Machattie Park); Sutton Forest ('Hillview'). Vic: Box Hill (Central Plantation, Whitehorse Rd.); Fitzroy (Edinburgh Gardens); Leongatha (Mossvale Park, large fallen rooted tree opposite pavilion); Lorne ('Erskine House'); Fawkner Park (Avenue and scattered trees); Kyneton (Kyneton Botanic Gardens); Gisborne (s side Calder Hwy); South Yarra (Melbourne Grammar School Oval); Wallan (Avenue of Honour planted 1920).