Shrub, 0.6–2 m; mature bark smooth, reddish brown. Leaves 5–8(–10.5) × 1.5–2.5(–3) cm, narrowly elliptic to oblong, apex acute, upper surface brownish green, lower surface silvery-papillose, scales unequal, their own diameter apart, borne in pits, the larger stalked. Flowers (3–)4–5, in a terminal inflorescence that has a rhachis 1–5 mm long; calyx lobes (2–)5–7 mm, erect or spreading, not ciliate; corolla deep yellow, sometimes almost yellow-orange, narrowly campanulate, 18–28 mm, outer surface scaly, sometimes slightly pubescent; stamens 10; ovary scaly, tapering into the declinate style that is scaly at base. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Myanmar N China Yunnan, SE Tibet India Arunachal Pradesh
Habitat 1,600–3,000(–3,900) m
RHS Hardiness Rating H3
Awards AM 1961 (Crown Estate Commissioners, Windsor) to a clone 'Yellow Garland', from Forrest 21707/ 22652; flowers Aureolin.
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note This is a rare species in cultivation as it is tender. It is closely allied to R. auritum (q.v.). Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub 4 ft and upwards high; young shoots sprinkled with scales. Leaves ovate-lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, usually pointed, tapered at the base, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 3⁄8 to 11⁄8 in. wide, dark glossy green and soon glabrous above, glaucous and closely pitted with tiny glistening scales beneath; stalks 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Flowers opening in May in clusters usually of three to five. Calyx deeply five-lobed, the lobes rounded, more or less scaly like the flower-stalk which is 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Corolla funnel-shaped, about 1 in. long, five-lobed, scaly outside, of varying shades of yellow (rich, bright, or tinged with green). Stamens ten, rather longer than the corolla, downy at the base. Ovary densely scaly as is the style also towards the base. Bot. Mag., t. 8882. (s. Boothii ss. Tephropeplum)
Native of Yunnan and the Tsarong province of S.E. Tibet westward through upper Burma to the eastern end of the Himalaya; discovered by Delavay about 1886 in the Tali range, Yunnan; introduced by Forrest in 1910. It occurs at mostly 8,000 to 11,000 ft, in thickets on rocky slopes and cliffs or at the edge of torrents. As a rule it is a bushy shrub in the wild up to 6 ft high, but Kingdon Ward found it 15 ft high in the gorge of the Taron (Kiuchiang). It is allied to R. tephropeplum, differing in the colour of its flowers. In R. sulfureum of the Boothii subseries the flowers are yellow but they are wider and the style is bent, whereas in R. xanthostephanum it is straight. It is a rather tender species, needing a sheltered position.
The Award of Merit was given on May 15, 1961, to clone ‘Yellow Garland’, exhibited by the Crown Estate Commissioners, Windsor Great Park. This was raised from Forrest 21707, collected on the Salween-Kiuchiang divide in 1922.