It grows to 2–3 m tall by 1–3 m wide, with pinnate blue-green leaves 30–50 cm long, which have a distinctive, unpleasant odour. Dark red, nectar-laden flower spikes, 30–80 cm in length, appear in spring, followed by green pods.
All parts of the plants are poisonous. The Latin binomial Melianthus major literally means "large honey flower". In cultivation this plant requires a sheltered location and may also need a protective winter mulch in temperate regions. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.