Shrubs, 1–4.5 m tall; shoots white-floccose, glabrescent. Petiole 10–15 mm, floccose, soon glabrescent; leaf blade leathery, oblong-elliptic to ovate-oblong, 5–14 × 2–5.5 cm; base subrounded or subcordate; apex acute to mucronate; abaxial surface tawny to golden-brown or cinnamon, densely tawny to golden-brown or cinnamon agglutinated or felted tomentose, hairs branched; adaxial surface glabrous. Inflorescence racemose-umbellate, 8–15-flowered; rachis 10–15 mm. Pedicel 1–1.5 cm, sparsely floccose or glabrous; calyx lobes 5, ca. 1 mm, acute, glabrous; corolla funnel-campanulate, white to pale pink, with purplish red spots, 2–4.5 cm, lobes 5, orbicular; stamens 10, unequal, filaments pubescent in lower part; ovary ca. 7 mm, glabrous or sparsely pubescent; style ca. 2.4 cm, glabrous. Capsule oblong-cylindric, straight, slightly curved at apex, 15–30 × 4–6 mm. Fl. May–Jun, fr. Jul–Oct.
Abies forests, thickets, mountain slopes; 3000–4800 m. W Sichuan, SE Xizang, NW Yunnan.
Hybrids probably account for part of the wide variation shown by Rhododendron phaeochrysum, which extensively hybridizes with both R. aganniphum and R. przewalskii (see above) and possibly some other species.