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Dwarf shrub, 0.6-3 m. Leaves 4.5-8 x 2-3.5 cm, obovate to elliptic, lower surface glabrous except for a few white hairs on the midrib and main veins; petioles glabrescent. Flowers 4-6, in a tight truss; calyx c.5 mm; corolla white or pale yellow flushed pink, occasionally red, with red flecks, tubular-campanulate, with nectar pouches, 40-50 mm; ovary with a few scattered hairs, abruptly contracted into the glabrous style. Flowering March-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China S Tibet
Habitat 3,000-3,700 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Awards AM 1977 (Maj. Gen. E.G.W.W. Harrison, Tremeer, Cornwall) to a clone 'Ocelot'; flowers yellow-green, lobes with a darker central band, upper throat heavily spotted with greyed purple. AM 1983 (Lord Aberconway and National Trust, Bodnant) to a clone Talma'; trusses loose, 3-7-flowered, corolla green-white, each lobe having a slightly deeper coloured central band, with heavy spotting of greyed purple in upper throat.
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
Taxonomic note The conspicuous red flecks on the corolla are an unusual feature in Subsect. Neriiflora. This is a rare species, both in cultivation, and in the wild. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub up to 3 or 4 ft high; young shoots glabrous; bark flaking, purplish brown. Leaves oval, rounded at the apex to a short mucro, almost similarly rounded at the base to the stalk, 11⁄2 to 21⁄4 in. long, about half as wide, glabrous above, loosely papillose beneath (not downy), stalk 1⁄5 to 2⁄5 in. long. Flowers in trusses of about six, on glabrous stalks 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Calyx a flat, circular disk 1⁄2 in. or so wide. Corolla widely campanulate, 13⁄4 in. deep, 21⁄4 in. wide across the five bilobed, reflexed lobes which are 1 in. wide, white flushed pink, veined with crimson and with deeper-coloured pouches at the base. Stamens ten, shorter than the tube, anthers dark brown. Ovary glabrous; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 9624.
R. parmuiatum was discovered by Kingdon Ward in 1924 on the Doshong La, S.E. Tibet, at the eastern end of the Himalaya, and was introduced by him (KW 5875). Most of the cultivated plants are from this sending, perhaps all, but it was found again by Ludlow, Sherriff, and Elliot in 1946-7 (L.S. & E. 13612). It first flowered at Edinburgh and at Borde Hill in Sussex, in April 1936.
R. parmuiatum is an interesting and very distinct species, at present placed in the subseries Sanguineum of the Neriiflorum series, though it is unique in that group in the colour and markings of its flowers. It is hardy in a sheltered place near London.