Spindly much-branched low shrub, to 1m; leaf bud scales deciduous. Leaves 1.3–2.8 × 0.6–1.2 cm, oblong or elliptic-oblong, apex subacute, lower surface with 1 tier of plastered pale brown more or less overlapping scales, most with well-developed domed centres. Flowers many, in a dense racemose umbel; calyx lobes 34 mm; corolla pink to red, rarely pinkish white, hypercrateriform, tube 6–8 mm, pilose on outer surface, densely so within, especially at mouth, lobes 2.54 mm; stamens 5; ovary scaly. Flowering March-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China S Tibet
Habitat 3,200–4,700 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Conservation status Near threatened (NT)
Taxonomic note Closely resembling R. primuliflorum, but differing in the form of the scales, the leaf shape, habit and flower colour. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub usually 2 to 3 ft high, but found by Kingdon Ward up to 8 ft high in open forest. Leaves oblong or oblong-lanceolate, up to 1 in. long, about half as wide, with scattered scales above, undersides densely coated with light brown scales. Flowers in a dense terminal head, very shortly stalked, opening in April or May. Calyx up to 3⁄16 in. long, scaly. Corolla rosy pink, narrowly tubular, densely hairy inside and out, not scaly. Stamens five, glabrous, just reaching to the mouth of the tube. Ovary usually densely scaly; style about as long as ovary, glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 9492. (s. Anthopogon)
R. kongboense was discovered by Kingdon Ward in 1924 on the Doshong La at the eastern end of the Himalaya, in the Tibetan province of Kongbo, and was introduced by him during the same expedition. It is of taller and laxer growth than most members of the Anthopogon series, and with flowers of an unusually deep shade of pink. It is perfectly hardy, but not common in gardens. The leaves are highly aromatic and were burnt as incense by rich householders in Kongbo (Kingdon Ward, Assam Adventure, p. 72).