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Shrub, 1.5-4.5 m. Leaves (7-)9-ll x (4-)5-7 cm, broadly ovate to obovate, apex and base rounded, lower surface with dense fulvous lanate indumentum composed of fasciculate hairs. Flowers 8-14, in a dense truss; calyx 1-2 mm; corolla scarlet to blood-red, with darker nectar pouches, tubular-campanulate, 20-35 mm; ovary glabrous. Flowering March-April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Bhutan China S Tibet India Sikkim, Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh Nepal E
Habitat 3,200-4,300 m
Awards AM 1933 (G.W.E. Loder, Wakehurst Place, Sussex); flowers blood red.
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note A distinctive species unlikely to be confused with any other. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub 6 to almost 20 ft high, with stiff branches and peeling bark. Leaves oval, 3 to 4 in. long, 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide; rounded at the end except for a short, abrupt tip, somewhat heart-shaped at the base; covered beneath with a thick reddish-brown felt. Flowers blood-red, 1 to 11⁄4 in. across, densely packed in hemispherical trusses 31⁄2 in. wide. Calyx very small, shallowly lobed. Corolla bell-shaped, with five shallow, notched lobes; stamens ten, much shorter than the corolla, not downy; ovary glabrous, style crimson. Bot. Mag., t. 5317. (s. Campanulatum)
Native of the Himalaya from Nepal eastward; introduced by J. D. Hooker in 1850. This species is very similar to R. campanulatum in foliage, but is not quite so hardy nor so free in growth. Its flowers are rich red and appear during March and April. A suitable spot for it is some sheltered outskirt of woodland, especially where the flowers may be protected from early morning sunlight. At Kew the various titmice are very fond of pecking a hole through the base of the corolla, presumably to get at the honey. An ornamental feature of the plant is the crimson bracts that accompany the young growth in spring.
Award of Merit March 21, 1933, when exhibited by Gerald Loder, Wakehurst Place, Sussex.