An evergreen shrub up to 6 ft high, of sparse straggling habit, often growing wild on the trunks and forks of trees; young shoots very scaly. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, pointed, 21⁄2 to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, dark green above; almost covered with brown glistening scales beneath, between which, however, the glaucous surface of the leaf is visible; stalk 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. long. Flowers produced in July, usually in pairs. Corolla 11⁄2 in. wide, white tinged with rose, the base broadly bell-shaped; lobes five, rounded, overlapping, scaly outside. Stamens twelve to sixteen, downy towards but not at the broadened base. Ovary scaly; style 5⁄8 in. long, with a broad thick stigma; glabrous except for a few scales near the ovary. Calyx 1⁄4 in. long, scaly at the base, the lobes deep, oval, rounded at the end. Flower-stalk 1⁄4 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 4932. (s. Camelliiflorum)
Native of the Himalaya from E. Nepal to Bhutan, to 10,000 ft altitude. It was discovered in Sikkim by J. D. Hooker and introduced in 1851 to Kew. It is quite uncommon, which is no matter for great regret, for it is one of the least ornamental and most difficult of rhododendrons.