Shrub or small tree, 3–9 m; young shoots densely stellate-tomentose and glandular-setose. Leaves 9–22(–30) × 4–9(–10) cm, elliptic to oblong, upper surface glabrous, lower surface glabrescent or with a more or less persistent stellate tomentum intermixed with a few glands. Flowers 10–15, in a lax truss; calyx 1–2 mm; corolla bright crimson to scarlet, without flecks, tubular-campanulate, with nectar pouches, 45–60 mm; ovary densely stellate-tomentose, also with setose glands, style floccose and stalked-glandular, at least in the lower half. Flowering July. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Myanmar NE China W Yunnan
Habitat 1,800–3,650 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H3
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
An evergreen shrub up to 15 or 20 ft high; young shoots at first furnished with starry down and glands, afterwards glabrous. Leaves between oblong and oval, 6 to 12 in. long, 2 to 4 in. wide, dark green and loosely downy above and finally glabrous there, the undersurface at first covered with starry down and glands like the young shoots, much or all of which wears away leaving it pale and shining green; stalk up to 21⁄4 in. long. Flowers opening during July and August in trusses of twelve to sixteen, the main flower-stalk downy and glandular. Calyx 3⁄8 in. wide, with five broad shallow lobes; flower-stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, bristly glandular. Corolla fleshy, funnel-shaped, 3 in. wide by 21⁄4 in. deep, rich crimson, downy outside, five-lobed, the lobes 1 in. wide; there are five darkly coloured pouches at the base. Stamens ten, crimson, up to 15⁄8 in. long, downy at the base. Ovary covered with tawny down; style 13⁄4 in. long, crimson, glandular over most of its length. Bot. Mag., t. 9271. (s. Irroratum ss. Parishii)
Native of eastern upper Burma; discovered in 1912 by Maung Kyaw, a collector in the Burmese Forest Service, after whom it is named. He found it near the Hpyepat bungalow, two stages short of Fort Htagaw, on the track from Myitkyina to Hpimaw on the Yunnan frontier. Seven years later Farrer and Cox collected seeds at the type-locality on their way back from the frontier area (Farrer 1444, Nov. 1919). But in the previous May Forrest had found a plant some 35 miles farther north at 9,000 ft, bearing last year’s capsules, and collected seed, so the credit for introducing the species belongs to him (F. 17928, originally distributed as R. prophanthum).
R. kyawii is a magnificent species, but is seen to best advantage in the mildest parts or in a cool greenhouse. There is a plant at Eckford, Argyll, planted about 1930, 13 ft high and 40 ft in circumference (R.C.Y.B. 1968, p. 47). It is closely related to R. eriogynum, having the same starry down on various parts, the same glittering undersurface of the adult leaf, and the same habit of growing late in the season; but the foliage, flowers and the plant itself are larger.
R. agapetum becomes a synonym of this species.