Rhododendron bureavii is outstanding among rhododendron species. It is listed by Hillier as Rhododendron bureaui, which I thought at first must be a misprint, but in fact the species is named for a French professor, M. Bureau, and can be anglicised as Bureau’s Rhododendron. It was introduced from China in 1917.
Its most striking feature is its leaves, very dark glossy green above and with a rich light red woolly indumentum underneath. The flowers start of pinkish when in bud, and unfold white with some crimson markings, bell-shaped in a tight truss. When they are over, the young new growths, between pale fawn and light red, are also extremely attractive.
This particular specimen really is on its last legs, and I know that I could actually push over either of its stems quite easily, as it is affected by rot at their feet. It has been flowering more profusely the last few years, and I fear this may be an indication that it has not much longer to go before it gives up the ghost. I am not well-enough equipped to propagate rhododendrons successfully, so this is one I need to buy in as a replacement sooner or later.