Shrub or small tree, 1–7 m; young shoots densely whitish-lanate-tomentose, bud scales deciduous. Leaves 11.5–21 × 3.5–6 cm, oblanceolate to obovate, apex usually rounded, acuminate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface covered with a dense whitish to fawn lanate tomentum composed of dendroid hairs; petioles lanate-tomentose and stalked-glandular at first, later glabrescent. Flowers 12–25, in a lax truss; calyx 5–9 mm; corolla white, sometimes flushed pink, with greenish flecks, funnel-campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, c.35 mm; ovary covered with brownish stipitate glands, also with a few whitish non-glandular hairs, style glabrous. Flowering June-July. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).
Distribution Georgia Turkey NE
Habitat 1,200–1,850 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Awards AM 1973 (Lord Aberconway and National Trust, Bodnant); flowers white inside, edged pale pink, pink outside, spotted green.
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
Taxonomic note Allied to R. smirnowii but differing in its glandular ovary. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).
An evergreen shrub or small tree up to 20 ft high in the wild; young shoots downy. Leaves narrow oblong, 3 to 6 in. long, one-third as wide, tapering at the base, the apex ending in a short, abrupt point; glabrous above, but covered beneath with pale brownish wool; stalk 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers in large trusses 6 in. through, opening in July; pedicels up to 15⁄8 in. long, hairy and glandular. Calyx-lobes five, lanceolate, covered with glandular hairs. Corolla broadly bell-shaped, with five rounded, slightly notched lobes, white to pale rose, 11⁄2 to 2 in. across. Stamens hairy at the base. Ovary glandular; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 8332. (s. Ponticum ss. Caucasicum)
Native of the Artvin region of N.E. Asiatic Turkey and of bordering parts of Russia (Adzaria), at 2,500 to 6,000 ft; introduced to cultivation in 1886 by way of St Petersburg, having been discovered by Baron Ungern-Sternberg in the previous year. It was discovered and introduced at the same time as R. smirnowii, with which it has been much confounded. The leaves are much longer than in that species, up to almost 9 in. long on wild plants, and are abruptly narrowed at the apex to a mucronate tip (obtuse in R. smirnowii), the lobes of the corolla are not frilled, and the calyx-lobes are much longer. It is also taller-growing in the wild. It is hardy in Britain, but not so fine a species as R. smirnowii.