Shrub, 1–10 m; young shoots sparsely scaly, with a bloom. Leaves 3–6.5 × 1.3–2.5 cm, elliptic to narrowly elliptic, apex acute, upper surface glabrous, lower surface with narrowly rimmed golden or brown scales 5–8× their own diameter apart; petioles glabrous. Flowers 2–6, in a loose terminal inflorescence; calyx minute, usually glabrous; corolla white to rose-pink or lilac, sometimes with red flecks, widely funnel-shaped, (21–)24–27(–30) mm, outer surface usually lacking scales, glabrous; stamens 10; ovary scaly, impressed below the declinate, glabrous style. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).
Distribution China N Yunnan, SW Sichuan, Guizhou
Habitat 2,000–3,350 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Awards AM 1933 (H. White, Sunningdale Nurseries) as R. eriandrum, from Rock 11288 (USDA 59207); flowers white, slightly pink-flushed. AM 1939 (L. de Rothschild, Exbury) as R. caeruleum, from Rock 11288 (USDA 59207); flowers white, spotted red.
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note (incl. R. caeruleum H.Lev. & R. eriandrum H.Lev.) Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
This species differs from the closely allied R. pleistanthum in its more distant leaf scales and glabrous petioles. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)