Shrub, 0.5–6 m. Leaves coriaceous, 6.5–15 × 2–3.5 cm, elliptic to oblanceolate, apex acuminate, lower surface glabrous though with red punctate hair bases persisting on the veins. Flowers 7–12(–17), usually in a lax truss, white, with a rose flush, sometimes with purple flecks, open-campanulate, lacking nectar pouches, 25–40 mm; ovary and style stalked-glandular. Flowering May-June. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Myanmar NE China Guizhou, W Yunnan
Awards AM 1977 (Maj. A.E. Hardy Sandling Park, Kent) to a clone 'Folks Wood', as R. laxiflorum; flowers white. AM 1979 (R.N.S. Clarke, Borde Hill) to a clone 'Anna Strelow' of R. laxiflorum, from Forrest 27706; truss 14-16-flowered, corolla white, shading towards base to a yellowish white, lobes faintly flushed red-purple, stamens 11-12.
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note (incl. R. hardingii Tagg & R. laxiflorum Balf.f. & Forrest) Both R. hardingii and R. laxiflorum, from W Yunnan, have larger flowers, c.40mm long, while in R. annae (from Guizhou) they are usually 25mm long. However, the type specimens of R. hardingii have flowers that span the whole range between these three entities. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
A shrub to 20 ft high; branchlets slender, glandular when young, otherwise glabrous. Leaves thinly leathery, oblong-elliptic or broader slightly above the middle, apex obtuse to acute or shortly acuminate, base cuneate, 3 to 5 in. long, 1 to 23⁄4 in. wide, deep matt green above with the main veins slightly impressed, undersurface bright green with scattered, glistening brown dots; petiole about 5⁄8 in. long. Flowers borne in April in loose trusses of twelve to fifteen; rachis about 1 in. long; pedicels 5⁄8 to 7⁄8 in. long, glandular. Calyx very small, glandular at the edge. Corolla five-lobed, widely funnel-shaped to cup-shaped, up to almost 3 in. wide, white sometimes flushed with pink, spotted or unspotted. Ovary conoid, glandular, as is the style throughout. Bot. Mag., n.s., t.385.
Native of Kweichow and western Yunnan; described by Franchet from a specimen collected in the former province. The type of R. laxiflorum, the name under which the species has generally been known in cultivation, came from the Shweli-Salween divide, and the plant figured in the Botanical Magazine was raised from seeds collected in the same area. The species, as known in cultivation, is not so tender as was once supposed, but it breaks into growth early, and the flower-buds too may be killed by late frost. It is the most ornamental species of the subsection, apart from R. irroratum itself and R. aberconwayi.