Description from Flora of China
Rhododendron aureum Franchet, J. Bot. (Morot) 9: 394. 1895, not Georgi (1775).
Shrubs, evergreen, 1–3(–5) m tall; mature bark smooth, reddish brown, somewhat pruinose; branchlets densely scaly. Petiole 5–13 mm, scaly; leaf blade leathery, oblong-lanceolate, (3–)5–8(–10) × (1–)2–2.5(–3) cm; base usually cuneate; apex acute or rounded, mucronate; abaxial surface silvery brown, scales ca. 0.5 × their own diameter apart, small, unequal, most sunk in pits; adaxial surface brownish green, scaly. Inflorescence usually terminal, racemose-umbellate, 3–5-flowered. Pedicel (0.3–)0.5–0.7(–1.8) cm, densely scaly; calyx lobes (2–) 3–5(–7) mm, rounded, ovate or oblong, erect or spreading, scaly, not ciliate; corolla tubular-campanulate, bright to deep yellow, (1.8–)2–2.5(–2.8) cm, outer surface scaly, lobes shorter than tube; stamens 10, ca. as long as corolla, filaments pubescent towards base; ovary densely scaly; style slender, straight, longer than corolla, scaly at base. Capsule cylindric, (5–)8–10 (–11) mm, scaly.
Abies and Pinus forests, woods, scrub, cliffs; 1500–3500(–4000) m. SE Xizang, NW Yunnan [NE India, N Myanmar].