An evergreen shrub up to 18 ft high; branchlets slender, scaly, and clothed with pale bristles 1⁄8 in. long. Leaves scattered on the vigorous shoots, clustered at the end of weaker ones; ovate or oblong, pointed, rounded or tapered at the base, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. wide; upper surface sparsely scaly, downy about the midrib, and freely sprinkled with pale, long bristles; lower surface more scaly but less bristly, and downy only on and about the midrib; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long, bristly. Flowers in May or June in clusters of three to five, borne on bristly pedicels about 1⁄2 in. long. Calyx minute, hidden in bristles. Corolla funnel-shaped, about 13⁄4 in. wide, light to dark purple, bristly on the tube outside and scaly. Stamens ten, hairy towards the base. Ovary bristly and scaly; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 8880. (s. Triflorum ss. Augustinii)
Native of W. and S.W. Szechwan at altitudes of up to 11,ooo ft, said to be a very common species, especially in woodland, where it forms dense thickets; introduced by Wilson in 1904. It is a very distinct species in the bristliness of its various parts, and quite handsome in its darker-coloured forms. It is hardy in a sheltered position.
The Award of Merit was given on June 8, 1971, to the clone 'Honey Wood', exhibited by Major A. E. Hardy, Sandling Park, Kent.