Toro is a slender upright tree with steady growth to four metres at ten years to a maximum of eight metres. It has long narrow coriaceous leaves with a yellow-brown upper surface and a paler underside on which there are quite obvious tiny rectangular glands. In spring the underside of new leaves are reddish-brown and in autumn they turn amber. They have smooth margins when mature but seedling leaves are usually toothed.
Toro flower buds are brown and they grow in profuse clusters with up to 15 individual flowers in each cluster on the bare branchlets below leaves. Toro is generally dioecious but not uncommonly, gynodioecious (flowers may be male, female or hermaphroditic all on the same tree). The buds blossom from August to January into coral-coloured flowers with curved petals.
In the year following flowering, the fruit ripens into soft-fleshed red or orange drupes from September to February, usually carrying one, but occasionally two seeds. Birds waste no time getting at them
Toro prefers good, well-drained soils and does noticeably better on them but will tolerate poor soils and dry conditions.
The hardy Myrsine salicina is endemic throughout the North Island and upper South Island from North Cape to Greymouth, particularly on the lowlands and up to approximately 850 metres. It is completely absent on the Eastern side of the South Island. It is often found in the company of hardwoods in kauri/podocarp forest understoreys.
This smallish open-branched tree makes a graceful specimen in a garden where its height, under cultivation, rarely reaches beyond six metres. Its trunk is protected by thick, dark red to almost black corrugated bark, and its attractive form and lovely colouring through the seasons along with its relative scarcity and willingness to thrive in most conditions make it a pleasing addition.