Buddleja salviifolia commonly grows to 3 m, rarely to 8 m. The bark is red-brown and stringy. The young branchlets are covered in grey woolly hairs. The leaves are sessile or with short petioles (stalks). The leaf shape is lanceolate with narrowly tapering tips and deeply lobed bases. The upper leaf surface is dark green, coarse, puckered and wrinkled; below it is rust-coloured to whitish haired with a prominent midrib and net-veining.
The flowers grow in late winter and spring in large heads above the leaves. The flowers are small. They may be white, cream or purple in colour and fragrant. The fruit is an ovoid capsule of 5 mm, half embedded in the residual calyx (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002).