An evergreen shrub up to 10 ft high in the wild, sometimes taller, with stout shoots, tomentose when young. Leaves up to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, oblong-ovate to lanceolate, pointed at the apex, roundish to slightly cordate at the base, dark green above and glabrous when mature, underside coated with a dense, tawny felt; petiole about 1⁄2 in. or slightly more long, felted. Flowers in a compact terminal cluster of up to fifteen, opening in April or May; pedicels up to 7⁄8 in. long, densely tomentose. Calyx about 1⁄10 in. long. Corolla funnel-campanulate, about 11⁄2 in. long, creamy yellow or creamy white, often flushed with rose and marked with crimson spots, five-lobed. Stamens ten, hairy in the lower third. Ovary and style glabrous. (s. and ss. Taliense)
R. taliense was discovered by the French missionary Delavay in the Tali range, Yunnan, and described in 1886, and was introduced by Forrest from the same area in 1910, possibly earlier. A rhododendron found by Wilson in W. Szechwan, of which seed was sent in 1908, is probably R. taliense. It is a rare species in gardens and of little ornament, but as the type of the Taliense series it deserves mention. From other members of the Taliense subseries it is distinguished by the densely felted leaf-stalks and flower-stalks.