Shrub or small tree, 2-6 m. Leaves 7-15 x 1.6-2.8 cm, narrowly oblanceolate, apex acuminate, upper surface reticulate; lower surface with a two-layered indumentum, the upper layer loose, white, persisting or rubbing off, composed of ramiform hairs, the lower compacted and whitish. Flowers 6-10, in a loose truss, white to pale rose or purple, with purple flecks, widely campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, 40-50 mm; ovary densely and coarsely yellowish-tomentose, style glabrous. Flowering March-April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China Sichuan, Gansu
Habitat 2,000-3,000 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H4
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
An evergreen shrub up to 15 ft high in the wild; young shoots covered with a short grey felt. Leaves oblanceolate, slenderly pointed but tapering more gradually towards the base, 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1 in. wide, dark green, glabrous above at maturity, clothed beneath with a loose grey felt; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Flowers produced in March or April in clusters of five to eight on downy stalks 3⁄4 in. long. Calyx small, shallowly lobed, downy. Corolla bell-shaped, five-lobed, 2 to 21⁄4 in. wide, 13⁄4 to 2 in. deep, pink to pale rosy-lilac, spotted with maroon on the three upper lobes. Stamens ten, the longest about as long as the corolla, their stalks white, downy at the base; anthers dark brown. Ovary and base of style clad with white down, the latter nearly 2 in. long. Seed-vessel 3⁄4 in. long, covered with tawny down. (s. Arboreum ss. Argyrophyllum)
Native of W. Szechwan, China; discovered and introduced by Wilson in 1908. A distinct species on account of its stiff, very narrow leaves, grey-white beneath. It is perfectly hardy at Kew, but increases slowly in size because of its being so frequently cut back by late spring frosts, and for the same reason flowers there infrequently. It flowered with Lt-Col. Stephenson Clarke at Borde Hill, Sussex, in March 1918. Related to R. floribundum, it differs in its smaller, narrower leaves, more slenderly tapered at the base. It is named after the Hunnewell family, well known and ardent patrons of horticulture and botany in Massachusetts.
Leaves (7-)10-15cm long, upper layer of leaf indumentum remaining whitish.
Distribution China (C Sichuan).
R. rockii E.H.Wilson
Leaves 7-12cm long, upper layer of leaf indumentum turning yellow.
Distribution China (N Sichuan, S Gansu).
Taxonomic note (R. rockii E.H.Wilson)