is a large, spreading shrub, with stout woody branches covered by pale colored bark. Clusters (or opposite pairs) of small green leaves are produced at intervals, together with small groups of showy red or orange flowers. Leaves, young stems and calyces have covering of short hairs, generally not glandular, ie not sticky. The bracts beneath the flowers are colored green to purple, narrowly lanceolate to linear in shape, with pointed tips.
The tubular flowers have a strap-shaped upper lip, generally unlobed, and a wider lower lip, deeply divided into three lobes; all curl backwards when mature, often rolling up by 360 degrees or more. The flower center contains two red stamens topped by yellow anthers, and a longer white style. Plants can bloom into the fall given optimum conditions, though spring and early summer are the peak flowering times. The bright petals and deep corolla tube make this species popular with hummingbirds.