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RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Conservation status Near threatened (NT)
An evergreen shrub 4 to 12 ft high, leaves and young shoots glabrous, the latter yellowish. Leaves oval-oblong, broadly wedge-shaped at the base, terminated by a short, abrupt tip; 3 to 6 in. long, 3⁄4 to 2 in. broad; pale green, net-veined beneath; stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers produced ten or more together in a raceme up to 6 in. long; corolla widely bell-shaped, 13⁄4 to 2 in. across, seven-lobed, lilac-purple spotted with a deeper shade on the upper side; calyx, flower-stalk, style and ovary glandular; stamens fourteen, not downy. (s. Fortunei ss. Davidii)
R. davidii is named after the French missionary David, who discovered it near Mupin in W. Szechwan in 1869. Wilson found it again in 1904, when collecting for Messrs Veitch, and sent home seeds, but the true species is very rare in cultivation. The plants originally distributed as R. davidii in this country are R. oreodoxa. It is related to that species and to R. fargesii, but differs from both in the much longer leaves and in the remarkably elongated inflorescence-rachis.