A low, densely branched, evergreen shrub; young shoots covered with forwardly directed bristles. Leaves alternate, obovate, short-pointed, tapered at the base; 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. wide; dull green with purplish margins, covered on both surfaces with appressed bristles and (beneath especially) with tiny pale scales; margins bristly; stalk very short. Flowers produced from August onwards in terminal clusters 1⁄2 to 1 in. across; corolla bright blue; calyx tubular, 3⁄8 in. long, bristly, with five awl-shaped teeth.
Native of the E. Himalaya and Yunnan. It has been introduced from the latter province of China by Forrest, but is too tender to be grown satisfactorily in most parts of the kingdom. At Kew it suffers in severe weather, even against a wall. It is well distinguished from C. willmottianum, which has longer, more diamond-shaped, slender-pointed, less bristly leaves and less bristly shoots. To the inflorescences of both a spiky character is given by the erect, finely pointed bracts and teeth of the calyx.