An evergreen shrub or small tree, as much as 20 ft high in the wild; branchlets stout, with the same coating as on the undersides of the leaves, which are leathery, broad-elliptic to ovate, 3 to 5 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, dark green, slightly rugose, soon glabrous above, the undersides (and also the shoots and petioles) coated with a bright rusty red wool intermixed with glands; petiole stout, about 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers in trusses of ten to fifteen, borne in April or May; pedicels about 3⁄4 in. long, densely woolly; rachis very short. Calyx deeply divided into five obtuse, ciliate lobes. Corolla funnel-campanulate, about 13⁄4 in. long, white or rose, usually with crimson markings. Ovary densely clad with bright brown hairs intermixed with glands; style hairy and glandular at the base. (s. Taliense ss. Adenogynum)
Native of N.W. Yunnan, where it forms thickets above the coniferous forests; discovered by Père Delavay in 1896 near Lankiung, north of Tali. Forrest sent seeds in 1904. His next sending was in 1918, from the Sungkwei pass (F.15609).
Although the flowers are unremarkable R. bureavii is worth growing for its handsome foliage, if the true species can be obtained. It is perfectly hardy, but is slow-growing and usually seen as a dense shrub 6 to 8 ft high. It received an Award of Merit when shown from Exbury in 1939.
R. bureavioides Balf. f., described from specimens collected by Wilson in W. Szechwan, is probably not specifically distinct from R. bureavii. He sent seeds to Messrs Veitch in 1904.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
† R. elegantulum Tagg & Forr. – Very near to R. bureaui, differing, according to the original description, in the narrower leaves less loosely woolly beneath and the glandular but not tomentose ovary. Described from specimens collected in the mountains near Yungning in south-western Szechwan. The origin of the cultivated plants is uncertain. Possibly a natural hybrid between R. bureaui and R. adenogynum (Rev. 2., p. 340).
As anticipated, R. bureauioides is now included in R. bureaui.
For the incorrectness (since 1983) of the spelling 'bureavii' see the section on Orthography in the Introduction to this supplement and ICBN (1983), Articles 73.7 and 73.10.