Shrub, 1.5-5 m. Leaves 10-17 x 4.2-8 cm, elliptic to broadly ovate, apex acuminate, lower surface covered with a thin two-layered indumentum, the upper layer more or less detersile, brown, composed of ramiform hairs, the lower whitish, compacted; petioles 1-2.5 cm, covered with an arachnoid tomentum that is intermixed with glands. Flowers 12-20, in a dense truss; calyx 8-10 mm, lobes broad, apex rounded; corolla white or (rarely) creamish, often flushed pink, crimson flecks and a basal blotch often present; ovary rufous-tomentose, style glabrous or glandular below. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China W Sichuan
Habitat 3,100-4,450 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Awards AM 1967 (Maj. A.E. Hardy, Sandling Park, Kent) to a clone Terry Wood'; flowers white, flushed red-purple in throat.
Conservation status Near threatened (NT)
Taxonomic note This species is allied to R. faberi but differs in its larger leaves and in the leaf indumentum. It is also allied to R. bureavioides (q.v.). Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
A stiff evergreen shrub up to 12 ft high in the wild; young shoots clothed with loose brown down, becoming glabrous. Leaves stiff and hard in texture, oval or broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, abruptly narrowed at the apex to a short point, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, 3 to 8 in. long, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. wide; glossy dark green and soon nearly or quite glabrous above, thinly downy beneath in two layers, the upper one brown and wearing off in great part, the under one paler, close, and permanent; stalk 5⁄8 to 11⁄8 in. long. Flowers produced in April and May a dozen to twenty together in a truss 3 to 6 in. wide; flower-stalks 3⁄4 to 1 in. long, covered with tawny, glandular down. Calyx divided almost to the base into five ovate membranous lobes 1⁄3 to 5⁄8 in. long, downy outside, and glandular-ciliate. Corolla white, pink-tinged, with a crimson blotch and spots at the base, 11⁄2 to 2 in. long and wide, bell-shaped, downy inside towards the base, five-lobed, the lobes 1⁄2 in. long. Stamens ten, 1⁄3 to 1 in. long, downy at the base; ovary felted; style glabrous or glanded at the base, longer than the stamens. Bot. Mag., t. 9414. (s. Taliense ss. Adenogynum)
Native of W. Szechwan, China; discovered by Pratt near Tatsien-lu (Kangting); introduced by Wilson in 1904. It is quite hardy at Kew and flowers regularly; the foliage is handsome, but the colouring is not particularly effective. The large membranous calyx is distinctive. Wilson describes it as a woodland species and it undoubtedly needs partial shade. It has been very much confused in gardens with R. faberi, owing to its having been wrongly identified with that species in the Plantae Wilsonianae, vol. i, p. 533, and distributed from the Coombe Wood Nursery under that name. The true R. faberi is distinct in the thicker woolly tomentum beneath the leaf and is rare in cultivation.
On April 18, 1967, the Award of Merit was given to a seedling of R. prattii exhibited by Major A. E. Hardy, Sandling Park, Kent, and named ‘Perry Wood’.