Small shrub, 1–2(–4) m. Leaves 1.1–7 × 0.5–2.5 cm, narrowly to broadly elliptic; apex acute to rounded, lower surface covered with uniformly fawn or deep rust, touching or overlapping scales. Flowers up to 6 per inflorescence; calyx (2–)5–8(–12) mm; corolla rose-lavender to deep purple, often with darker flecks, rarely almost white, funnel-shaped, (12–)22–31 mm; stamens 10; ovary scaly, style decimate, pubescent towards base. Flowering March-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China N & W Yunnan, SW Sichuan
Habitat 3,000–3,650 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
An evergreen shrub of rather erect growth 4 to 6 ft high, scaly. Leaves oval, often inclined to obovate, tapered about equally to both ends; 1 to 2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide, dark glossy green and scaly above, dull and rusty beneath with brownish-yellow scales; stalk 1⁄6 in. long. Flowers produced in April in terminal clusters of three to six. Calyx reddish, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long, deeply five-lobed, the lobes scaly outside and fringed with bristles; flower-stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Corolla widely funnel-shaped, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long and wide, five-lobed, deep rose coloured, downy in the throat. Stamens ten, their white stalks with a tuft of down towards the base; anthers brown, well exposed. Ovary scaly; style slender, glabrous, 1 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 9561. (s. Lapponicum)
R. cuneatum was found by Forrest in 1910 in the Lichiang range, N.W. Yunnan, growing on the margins of pine forests at 12,000 ft. His later collections are all from the drier parts of N.W. Yunnan and S.W. Szechwan, where it is apparently always found on limestone. It is at present placed in the Lapponicum series, with which it disagrees in its habit, large leaves, and in the shape of the corolla, which is funnel-shaped and zygomorphic, whereas in the Lapponicum series it is near to rotate in shape, i.e., has a tubular base abruptly widening into the limb. It is a hardy, quite pretty species, flowering in April.
See the remarks in the second paragraph. This species is included in subsect. Lapponica in the Edinburgh revision.