A low evergreen shrub of close, dense habit, 1 to 2 ft high; young shoots grooved, downy. Leaves leathery, entire, crowded (ten or twelve to the inch), narrowly obovate or oval, usually tapered more abruptly to the bluntish or rounded apex, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄16 in. wide, dark glossy green, quite glabrous except for the short stalk which is downy. Racemes 3⁄4 to 1 in. long, carrying nine to fifteen nodding flowers, the main and individual flower-stalks quite glabrous, chocolate-red. The racemes spring mainly from the axils of the terminal leaves. Corolla 3⁄16 in. long, urn-shaped, five-angled, contracted at the top to a small orifice where are five tiny triangular lobes; deep shining chocolate-red. Calyx glabrous, coloured like the corolla, its lobes triangular. Stamens included in the corolla, their stalks hairy. Fruits globose, 1⁄4 in. wide, purple-black.
Native of W. Szechwan, China; discovered by David in 1869; introduced by Wilson in 1909. In the original description by Franchet the flowers are described as white and Wilson describes them as rose-pink, but on the plants which have flowered at Kew they are dark red or chocolate crimson. Wilson observes that, in its wild state, it often occurs as an epiphyte on old trees. It is a pleasing little evergreen, suitable for the rock garden and growing well in peaty or light loamy soil. It blooms in May and June. Very similar to V. delavayi, it can be distinguished by its leaves not being notched at the apex and by its glabrous inflorescence.