A sturdy evergreen shrub 2 to 5 ft high; young shoots thick, stiff, greyish white at first. Leaves narrowly oval or ovate, pointed, mostly rounded at the base, 2 to 3 in. long, 1 to 11⁄2 in. wide, of hard leathery texture, ultimately glabrous and dark green above, clothed beneath with a close, rusty-brown down which becomes very dark on the two-year-old leaves; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Flowers produced in March and April in a terminal truss of six to ten. Corolla bell-shaped, 11⁄4 to 2 in. wide, creamy white or lemon-yellow, sometimes shaded with rose, or wholly rose-coloured, always spotted with crimson; five-lobed, the lobes overlapping. Calyx very small; flower-stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, both white with down. Stamens ten, about 1⁄2 in. long, downy at the base; anthers dark brown; ovary clothed with white down; style as long as the corolla, glabrous, pale yellow. Bot. Mag., t. 9190. (s. Taliense ss. Wasonii)
Native of W. Szechwan, China; discovered and introduced in 1904 by Wilson, who observed that it is ‘a common-low-growing species partial to rocks in forests’. It is a hardy, slow-growing species, with handsome foliage, with flowers, in the best form, of a clear, pale yellow, blotched at the base.
var. rhododactylum Hort. R. rhododactylum Balf. f., nom. inedit. – Flowers white, lined with pink. Raised from Wilson’s no. 1876. Award of Merit, March 27, 1923, when shown from Bodnant, as R. rhododactylum. For this name see Rhodo. Soc. Notes, Vol. II, p. 258.