Rhododendron rigidum aff.
An evergreen, rigid and upright shrub – as expressed by the name. Fully hardy. Young shoots reddish, slightly scaly, with terminal and (subterminal) flower buds. Petiole crimson, scaly, 4-8 mm. Leaf blade elliptic, coriaceous, slightly aromatic, to 6 cm. Leaf apex acute to acute-obtuse, with mucro. Leaf base rounded to obtuse. Leaf adaxial side dark green, glabrous with scattered scales c. 200 micrs. in diameter. Leaf abaxial side grey green, with scattered, relatively uniform, golden scales, (130-) 200 (-330) micrs., 0.5 – 3 (4) x the diameter apart. Flower bud spindle-shaped. Bud scales scaly, with ciliolate margins. Inflorescence an umbel with 2-6 flowers, rachis < 5 mm. Pedicel 15-20 mm, slightly scaly. Calyx diminutive,densely scaly, 1.3 mm. Corolla widely funnel-shaped, zygomorphic, with 5 ovate lobes, without external scales, white with rose tinge to light pink, with wine red spots, 35 mm wide, 15 mm deep. Ovary densely scaly, with inserted style, with 5 loculi, 3.5 mm. Stamens 10, unequal in length, proximally pubescent, protruding from corolla. Style glabrous, longer than stamens – c. 30 mm, with upwards bent, swollen, bullate, dark red brown stigma, 1.6 mm. Capsule pentagonally conical to cylindrical, scaly, 10-18 mm. Seeds with small floating sacs, 1.2-1.3 mm. Native habitat: Sichuan, Yunnan, China at 2000-3400 m according to Flora of China efloras org. Remarks; The seed source of the garden specimens is unknown. The reddish young shoots and the abaxial scale density derive from the species description. Maybe a transitional form to Rh. tatsienense?