Rhododendron nivale ssp. boreale 'Balang'

A low (<1m), erect, evergreen shrub. Very hardy. Young shoots covered by vesicular scales. Leaves green, shiny, aromatic, with mucro, ovoid to (oblong elliptic), to 9 (16 mm). Length: width ratio = 1.8-(2.5). Apex obtuse to rounded. Leaf base obtuse to acute. Leaf upper side with dense, light scales, 195-285 micrs. Leaf lower side with dense scales, some light coloured (the majority) 170-260 micrs., some dark brown 230-280 micrs. Light:dark scale ratio = c.3-4:1. Dark scales distance c. 1-3 x diam. Petiole 2-3 mm. with dark/light coloured mixed scales. Leaf bud scales dense, with fine marginal hairs. Inflorescens with (1)2 flowers, from terminal buds. Pedicel 1-3 mm, lepidote. Calyx with rounded, triangular lobes, sparsely scaly, but with a continuous rim of scales, c. 1.9-2.3 mm. Corolla widely funnel-shaped to (rarely) saucer-shaped, with 5 lobes, with no or scarse external scales, with hairy throat, light purple, c. 20 mm wide, 5-10 mm deep. Ovary c. 2.5 mm, conical, densely scaly, with fine proximal hairs, with 5 locules. Stamens 10, purple, with a pubescent hairy girdle at a level with the apex of ovary. Anthers red brown. Style red-purple, bubescent almost to the tip, straight, 5-6 mm, with swollen, bullate, dark brown stigma. Stamens, about double the length of style, protruding from the corolla. Capsule ovoid, c. 3.5 mm. Seeds not measured so far. Locality of origin: Balang Shan, Sichuan, China, 4200 m.