A large shrub or small tree to 15 ft high with stout, red-brown branches densely furnished with stiff, leathery, linear-elliptic leaves, pointed at the apex, tapered to a narrow base, 3 to 5 in. long and 3⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. wide; venation prominent. Spikes dense, 4 to 6 in. long and 21⁄2 to 3 in. wide; stamens rich brilliant crimson with golden anthers, about 1 in. long, inserted on the rim of a cup-shaped receptacle which is densely white-hairy on the outside; sepals also hairy on the back. Fruit half-spherical, 1⁄4 in. long and 1⁄4 to 7⁄16 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 1761.
A native of W. Australia. It is at least the equal of C. citrinus in the beauty of its spikes. As seen in cultivation the leaves are usually of a rather glaucous grey-green, but this is apparently not a constant character of the species. Some plants in cultivation as “C. speciosus” are a form of C. citrinus.
C. phoeniceus Lindl. – Another W. Australian species, allied to the preceding. It is a rather diffuse shrub 3 to 8 ft high with slender branches that are brownish or reddish at first, later grey, rather loosely clad with linear or linear-elliptic leaves, acute at the apex, long-tapered at the base, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long and 3⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. wide. Inflorescence commonly 2 to 21⁄2 in. long but sometimes 3 to 31⁄2 in., and about 2 in. wide.; stamens rich crimson; receptacles 1⁄8 in. long, glabrous like the sepals. Fruits deeply cupular to almost globose, 3⁄16 in. long, 1⁄4 in. across. Easily distinguished from C. speciosus by its slender branches, smaller leaves, inflorescences, and fruits, and by its glabrous receptacles and sepals. In the Edinburgh Botanic Garden a specimen of this species flourished in a sheltered border in front of the planthouses for more than twenty years.