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.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
An aberrant member of the subsect. Fortunea. The specific epithet is correctly spelt as above, not 'praeteritinum' as in the Edinburgh revision.