Shrub or tree, 6–25 m, 0.25 m dbh. Branchlets dark brown. Leaves papery, 6–11 × 2.5–4 cm, lanceolate to elliptic, largely glabrous, five to nine secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire or slightly serrate, apex acuminate to acute; petiole 0.5–1 cm long. Inflorescences terminal, subcorymbose, 4–8 cm long with 8–12 flowers; pedicels 0.3–0.5 cm long. Calyx tubular, petals linear-oblong, 0.6–0.7 cm long. Capsule ovoid, ~0.3 cm long. Flowering March to May, fruiting August to September (China). Hwang & Grimes 1996. Distribution CHINA: northeastern Guangxi, Guizhou, western Hunan, southeastern Xizang, Yunnan; VIETNAM. Habitat Dense forest between 1000 and 3000 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 9 (?). Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Hwang & Grimes 1996; NT391.
Huodendron tibeticum is established and growing well at Tregrehan, forming dense bushes clad in glossy dark green leaves. It is commercially available in the United Kingdom and is being planted by enthusiasts anxious to obtain the latest novelty, but young plants are not always easy to establish. It may be worth growing them on to achieve a larger size before planting them out. In terms of the distribution of the different species in the genus, as recorded in Flora of China, this should be the hardiest.