Shrub, 3–4 m; young shoots and petioles densely rufous tomentose. Leaves 6–11 × 2–3.5 cm, elliptic to oblanceolate, apex shortly cuspidate, upper surface shortly stalked-glandular and rufous-tomentose when young; lower surface ultimately with lamina glabrous though with a rufous tomentum composed of flagellate hairs covering the midrib. Flowers 4–6, in a lax truss; calyx 6–10 mm, lobes lingulate; corolla rose-pink, with a basal blotch, open-campanulate, without nectar pouches, 40–45 mm; ovary and lower half of style stalked-glandular. Flowering May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China Sichuan, Guizhou
Habitat 2,300–3,350 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Conservation status Near threatened (NT)
Taxonomic note A distinctive species without close allies. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen bush up to 12 ft or so high; young shoots stout, clothed thickly with brown, shaggy, branched hairs, and long, dark bud-scales, which persist for two or more seasons. Leaves oblong, inclined to obovate, pointed at the apex, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, 21⁄2 to 5 in. long, 1 to 13⁄4 in. wide, dark green and glabrous except for the midrib, which is shaggy beneath like the young shoots and leaf-stalks – the latter about 1⁄2 in. long; underside of blade dotted with pustule-like glands. Flowers opening in May, ten or more in a truss on stalks up to 1 in. or slightly more long. Calyx-lobes 1⁄2 in. long, glandular, and hairy. Corolla bell-shaped, about 2 in. across, white or pink, with a dark red blotch. Stamens ten, downy at the base. Ovary densely glandular; style glandular at the base. Bot. Mag., t. 9430. (s. Barbatum ss. Maculiferum)
Native of W. Szechwan at 9,000 to 11,000 ft; discovered by Wilson and introduced by him in 1904. It is a very hardy and free-flowering species, remarkable for the stout, shaggy young shoots and the large, petaloid calyx. In a letter to Kew, F. R. S. Balfour of Dawyck remarked that garden warblers often build their nests among its hairy twigs and leaves.