The Chilean firetree grows 4–15 m (13–50 ft) tall and can reach 50 cm (20 in) in diameter. The bark is dark grey with light spots and the wood is light pink in color. It produces clusters of deep red flowers (occasionally pale yellow) and flowering occurs in spring. The fruit is a dry follicle, with about 10 seeds inside.
It is grown as an ornamental in Great Britain and the United States, and as far north as the Faroe Islands at 62° North latitude.
The plant was introduced to Europe by William Lobb during his plant collecting expedition to the Valdivian temperate rain forests in 1845–1848. It was described by Kew Gardens as:
“Perhaps no tree cultivated in the open air in the British Isles gives so striking and brilliant a display as this does.”
The wood being very soft but durable, is used for making spoons, kitchen vessels and other craft articles.