This appears to be frost sensitive so may be (sub)tropical. Any help much appreciated!
The photos hopefully show the leaves, stem/branch and some emerging flower buds(?).
There are about 4, 5cm diameter trunks that have died back and these are new shoots/trunks that have grown from the base over the last year.
From the die-back, the flower buds and the entire, opposite leaves, I am thinking Phygelius or Fuchsia, but I can't find a species that fits (there are some tree-stature Fuchsias).
Your photos show some of the key features, but an open flower might help...
Hmm, you may be right re Phygelius (Cape Fuschia) as I have a vague memory of cascades of red flowers last year, but flowerbuds in Feb? These are usually late flowering I thought.
Anyway I will watch it and snap any that appear. Thanks for the steer.
'Cascades of red flowers' helps (and this time of year); thinking cap on...
...got me as far as Embothrium lanceolatum, and Lonicera spp. but they're not right.
I can't quite tell from the photos...
How are the leaves arranged?
- in pairs?
- in pairs, but in some cases in a whorl of three?
- what is the size of the leaves?
- how are the stipules arranged? (refer to http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/glossaries/vascular/stiparr.html)
Any clues from old seeds laying at the foot of the plant could be useful...
apologies for the delay in responding. the shrub is Criniodendron hookerianum (Elaeocarpaceae). The developing flower buds are very distinctive indeed. Its from Chile and is reasonably hardy but does get caught by frosts as the young foliage and developing flowers are forming at the coldest part of the year. It prefers an acid soil and a reasonably humid environment - mine suffers most through getting too dry in summer.
Awesome work thanks both, I think you've nailed it. If you get a chance and know them, say 'Hi' for me to Sandy K and Paul W! They will both remember me hopefully positively 8^) from my years @ NHM.