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Shrub, 1-4.5 m. Leaves 4.5-12 x 2-4 cm, ovate-lanceolate to elliptic, apex acute to acuminate, lower surface with a dense compacted to spongy one-layered lanate tomentum composed of ramiform hairs that are silvery white at first, sometimes turning pale pinkish cinnamon at maturity, usually shining and with a surface film; petioles glabrescent. Flowers 6-12, in a dense truss; calyx 6-10 mm, lobes elliptic; corolla pale to deep pink, with purple flecks, campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, 35-40 mm; ovary glandular; style glandular in the lower third. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China W Yunnan, SW Sichuan
Habitat 3,350-4,550 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
Taxonomic note R. balfourianum is allied to R. adenogynum but may be distinguished by the leaf indumentum that is generally paler. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub up to 8 ft high in the wild; young shoots and midrib at first scurfy. Leaves oblong or narrowly ovate, sharply pointed, rounded at the base, 21⁄2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, dark dullish green above, silvery grey with scurfy down beneath; stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers in trusses of six to nine. Calyx deeply lobed, the five lobes ovate, blunt, 1⁄4 in. long, and, like the flower-stalks (which are about 1 in. long), very glandular. Corolla bell-shaped, 13⁄4 in. deep, rather more wide, five-lobed, pale rose with crimson spottings. Stamens downy at the base, shorter than the corolla; ovary and lower part of style densely glandular. (s. Taliense ss. Adenogynum)
Native of W. Yunnan, where it was found by Forrest on the Tali Range in 1906. It is perfectly hardy at Kew. Closely related to R. adenogynum, it is still very distinct in the pale metallic-looking under surface of the leaf.
The var. aganniphoides is not recognised in the Edinburgh revision, there being no clear dividing line between it and the typical state.
Leaf indumentum compacted.