An evergreen shrub probably 10 ft or more high; young shoots downy. Leaves oblong, rounded, or slightly heart-shaped at the base, abruptly narrowed at the apex to a short mucro, 3 to 51⁄2 in. long, 11⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. wide; dark dull green above, pale green, and ultimately glabrous beneath except on the midrib; stalk 1⁄3 to 5⁄8 in. long. Flowers opening in March about eight in a truss 4 in. wide. Calyx shallowly five-lobed, glabrous; flower-stalks 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, loosely downy at first. Corolla bell-shaped, 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. long and wide, pink or pinkish white, five-lobed, each lobe notched, 3⁄4 to 1 in. wide. Stamens ten, 5⁄8 to 11⁄4 in. long, slightly downy towards the base; anthers chocolate-purple. Ovary and style quite glabrous, (s. Fortunei ss. Oreodoxa)
R. praeteritum was described in 1922 from a plant at Kew, raised from seeds collected by Wilson in China for Messrs Veitch, probably in W. Hupeh. From R. oreodoxa itself it differs in having a five-lobed corolla and only ten stamens; the flower-stalks of R. oreodoxa are also glandular. It was at first confused with R. maculiferum, from which it is clearly distinguished by having no blotch on the corolla and a quite smooth ovary. It is very hardy and has about the same garden value as R. fargesii; on account of its early opening the blossom is liable to damage by frost.