Shrub, 0.5-2 m. Leaves (2-)3-5 x (1-)1.4-1.9(-2.6) cm, narrowly elliptic to elliptic, apex obtuse to rounded, lower surface usually with dark brown overlapping crenulate scales. Pedicels 12-22 mm, scaly. Flowers 4-8 per inflorescence, rachis elongate; calyx lobes 1.54 mm; corolla magenta to purple, often with darker spots, campanulate, 12-15 mm; stamens 10, regularly arranged; ovary scaly, style sharply deflexed. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Bhutan China S Tibet India Sikkim
RHS Hardiness Rating H4
Awards AM 1960 (A.C. & J.F.A. Gibson, Glenarn, Dunbartonshire); flowers Doge Purple, with purple spots.
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note A distinctive species distinguished by a combination of crenulate scales and sharply deflexed style. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen bush of rounded shape 3 to 5 ft high; young shoots covered with reddish-brown scales. Leaves often clustered at the end of the shoot, oval, ovate or obovate, broadly wedge-shaped at the base, bluntish at the apex but with a distinct mucro there, 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄3 in. wide, dark glossy green and scurfy above; pale yellowish brown (at first glaucous) beneath, completely covered with crenulate scales; stalk 1⁄3 to 3⁄5 in. long. Flowers produced during May in one or more racemes at and near the end of the shoot, the main-stalk up to 1 in. long; individual flower-stalks up to 11⁄2 in. long. A raceme will carry sometimes twelve or more flowers, usually fewer. Calyx small with five scaly unequal lobes. Corolla flattish, deep red-purple with dark spots on the upper three lobes, 11⁄8 in wide, five-lobed, the lobes rounded, scaly outside. Stamens ten, with rosy purple stalks, glabrous at the base, more or less downy above; anthers brown. Ovary covered with whitish scales; style red-purple, much bent over. Bot. Mag., t. 8942. (s. Lepidotum ss. Baileyi)
Native of the E. Himalaya, not found west of Sikkim and rare even there; introduced by Lt-Col. F. M. Bailey in 1913 from near the border between Tibet and E. Bhutan and reintroduced by Roland Cooper from Bhutan in the following year. It differs from R. lepidotum in the more numerous flowers in each raceme, the brown undersides of the leaves and the crenulate scales.
Award of Merit April 26, 1960 when shown by A. C. and J. F. Gibson, Glenarn, Dunbartonshire.