Shrub, 1-3(-6) m; young shoots scaly and densely setose. Leaves 5.5-8 x 2.3-3.5 cm, ovate-elliptic to narrowly elliptic, apex acute, upper surface with or without scales, glabrous or setose, lower surface pilose, at least on midrib, scales unequal, brown, 1-4× their own diameter apart; petioles densely pilose. Flowers 2-3, in a loose terminal inflorescence; calyx lobes 1-2 mm, setose; corolla light to dark purple, zygomorphic, widely funnel-shaped, 30-36 mm, outer surface scaly and variably setose; stamens 10; ovary scaly, pilose and setose, style impressed, declinate, usually glabrous. Flowering May-June. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China W Sichuan
Habitat 2,300-3,300 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Awards AM 1971 (Maj. A.E. Hardy, Sandling Park, Kent) to a clone 'Honey Wood'; flowers purple-violet, paler in throat, with green mottling, becoming red-purple at base externally.
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
Taxonomic note This species apparently has affinities with R. concinnum but is more hairy. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub up to 18 ft high; branchlets slender, scaly, and clothed with pale bristles 1⁄8 in. long. Leaves scattered on the vigorous shoots, clustered at the end of weaker ones; ovate or oblong, pointed, rounded or tapered at the base, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. wide; upper surface sparsely scaly, downy about the midrib, and freely sprinkled with pale, long bristles; lower surface more scaly but less bristly, and downy only on and about the midrib; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long, bristly. Flowers in May or June in clusters of three to five, borne on bristly pedicels about 1⁄2 in. long. Calyx minute, hidden in bristles. Corolla funnel-shaped, about 13⁄4 in. wide, light to dark purple, bristly on the tube outside and scaly. Stamens ten, hairy towards the base. Ovary bristly and scaly; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 8880. (s. Triflorum ss. Augustinii)
Native of W. and S.W. Szechwan at altitudes of up to 11,ooo ft, said to be a very common species, especially in woodland, where it forms dense thickets; introduced by Wilson in 1904. It is a very distinct species in the bristliness of its various parts, and quite handsome in its darker-coloured forms. It is hardy in a sheltered position.
The Award of Merit was given on June 8, 1971, to the clone ‘Honey Wood’, exhibited by Major A. E. Hardy, Sandling Park, Kent.