Shrub, 1–3 m. Leaves (6.5–)9.5–14 × (3–)4.5–8 cm, ovate-lanceolate, apex rounded, obtuse, base rounded to cordate, lower surface with a thick whitish to buff two-layered indumentum, the upper layer lanate-tomentose, composed of ramiform hairs, the lower compacted; petioles glabrous when mature. Flowers 10–15, in a dense truss; calyx c.1 mm; corolla 7-lobed, white to deep rose, with purple flecks, campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, 40–50 mm; ovary and style glabrous. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China NW Yunnan, SW Sichuan
Habitat 3,350–3,950 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Conservation status Data deficient (DD)
Taxonomic note The above description applies to subsp. clementinae as this is the only form in cultivation. This is a distinctive species on account of its 7-lobed corolla. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub 4 ft and upwards high in the wild, with stout, stiff young shoots, leaf-buds four-angled. Leaves oval, mostly heart-shaped at the base, rounded at the apex, 21⁄2 to 5 in. long, rather more than half as much wide, dull green and without down at maturity above, covered beneath with a soft, thick, pale brown felt; stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers produced in a terminal truss of seven to fifteen flowers. Calyx minute. Corolla bell-shaped, creamy white flushed with rose or bright rose usually dotted with crimson, 2 in. wide, six- or seven-lobed; stamens double the number of the corolla lobes, scarcely half the length of the corolla, downy at the base; ovary and style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 9392. (s. and ss. Taliense)
Native of S.W. Szechwan, N.W. Yunnan, and S.E. Tibet; discovered by Forrest in 1913 on the Chungtien plateau and introduced by him. He evidendy thought highly of this species, which he dedicated to his wife, but in cultivation it is unremarkable in its flowers and worth growing only for its handsome foliage, which is steely blue when young. It is perfectly hardy.