An evergreen shrub usually under 6 ft high and often dwarf in the wild; young stems scaly and slightly bristly. Leaves oblanceolate to obovate, abruptly narrowed to a mucronate tip, tapered at the base, densely scaly on both sides, the scales less than their own diameter apart or even overlapping, undersurface green between the scales; petioles up to 3⁄8 in. long, scaly and edged with erect hairs. Flowers fragrant, borne in terminal trusses of five or six on scaly stalks up to 7⁄8 in. long. Calyx minute, fringed with bristles. Corolla five-lobed, narrowly funnel-campanulate, 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, yellow, greenish yellow or greenish white, scaly on the outside. Stamens ten, hairy in the lower part. Ovary densely scaly; style scaly. (s. Maddenii ss. Ciliicalyx)
Native of Mt Victoria, a mountain just over 10,000 ft high in the Southern Chin Hills, south-west Burma. It was discovered there by Lady Wheeler Cuffe and introduced by her to the Glasnevin Botanic Garden, where it first flowered in May 1914. Although not hardy enough for cultivation outdoors near London, it succeeds in several gardens on the west coast of Scotland.
R. pachypodum Balf. f. & Forr. – Closely allied to R. burmanicum, but with the leaves glaucous beneath between the scales, less scaly above, and with fewer flowers in each cluster (usually in twos or threes). The corollas are white or yellow, or white streaked with yellow. Introduced by Forrest in 1913 from the Tali range, Yunnan, where it grows at 7,000 to 10,000 ft. It is less hardy than R. burmanicum, but has been grown in the open air in the mildest parts.
R. pachypodum received an Award of Merit as a greenhouse plant when shown from Exbury in 1936. This form, with white flowers bearing a streak of yellow on the upper lobe, was raised from Kingdon Ward’s 3776, collected in 1921 in S.W. Yunnan at 8,000 ft at the head of the Nam Ting valley, south of Shunning-fu.