An evergreen shrub up to 10 ft or more high when grown on walls in this country, but occasionally attaining the dimensions of a small tree in S. America; branchlets glabrous and usually slightly viscid. Leaves 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, narrowly oval to obovate or spathulate, tapering at the base, rounded or often conspicuously notched at the apex, minutely toothed, glabrous and bright green above, furnished with small resinous dots beneath. Flowers pure white, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. across, produced in September in rounded terminal panicles, the largest of which are as much as 9 in. long, and 5 in. wide, but usually much smaller; petals spreading; calyx with pointed, triangular lobes, which are furnished with minute, glandular teeth; style as long as the calyx-lobes, with a large capitate stigma.
Native of eastern S. America, in S. Brazil and in Uruguay near Montevideo; probably introduced in 1827. This is the handsomest of white-flowered escallonias in cultivation, but is best grown on a wall except in the mildest parts, though it is fairly hardy in the open in the R.H.S. Garden, Wisley, in a sunny, sheltered position. It is better known under the synonym E. montevidensis.
This species has been much confused with E. paniculata var. floribunda (H. B. K.) McBride (E. floribunda H. B. K.), a native of the Andes of Ecuador and Peru, which is distinguished from E. bifida (montevidensis) by its pointed leaves, smaller flowers, shorter and blunter calyx-lobes and shorter style.