Shrub 1-1-8 m tall, with branches arched or pendulous. Stems red, 4-lined when young, becoming 2-lined, eventually terete; internodes 10-40 mm long, shorter than to exceeding leaves; bark reddish-brown. Leaves petiolate, with petiole 0.5-1.5 mm long; lamina 20-58 x 6-30 mm, elliptic or lanceolate to ovate or triangular-ovate, acute to obtuse or rarely rounded-apiculate , margin plane, base cuneate or sub- angustate to rounded, paler beneath, not to scarcely glaucous, chartaceous; venation: 3-4(5) pairs main laterals, with midrib branched distally, without or with obscure tertiary reticulum; laminar glands dots and short streaks, ventral glands ± dense. Inflorescence l-7(-ll)-flowered, from 1(2) node(s), subcorymbiform; pedicels 5-10 mm long; bracts intermediate to narrowly lanceolate, deciduous. Flowers 40-65 mm in diam., stellate; buds narrowly ovoid, acute to subacuminate. Sepals 7-15 x 2.5-7 mm, free, imbricate, equal, ± spreading in bud and fruit ± narrowly ovate to lanceolate, acute to acutely acuminate, with margin entire; midrib conspicuous, veins not prominent; laminar glands linear, c. 10-11. Petals bright golden yellow, not tinged red, spreading or recurved, 24-40 x 16-25 mm, c. 3 x sepals, obovate-oblong to obovate, with apiculus subterminal, acute; margin minutely glandular-denticulate towards apex. Stamen fascicles each with 35-50 stamens, longest 18-29 mm long, 0.65-0.8 x petals; anthers golden yellow. Ovary 6-8 x 4-6 mm, ovoid-pyramidal to narrowly ovoid; styles 8-10 mm long, c. 1.2-1.35 x ovary, free, erect, slightly outcurved at apex; stigmas small. Capsule 17-20 x 8-10 mm, ± narrowly ovoid-pyramidal to ovoid, red when immature. Seeds dark purplish-brown, 2-3.2 mm long, narrowly cylindric, narrowly winged, almost smooth.
2n = 36, 40 (also 20?, see below).
Pastures, hillsides, streamsides, among rocks; c. 1500-2000 m.
H. kouytchense has a rather restricted distribution in north-western Guizhou. In some respects it seems to be one of the most primitive species in sect. Ascyreia, e.g. in its long styles and stamens, acute leaves and sepals, large stellate flowers and conical ovary and capsule. Yet its arching to pendulous habit and petiolate leaves with punctiform laminar glands are relatively advanced characters; and it is clearly related to H. beanii and H. maclarenii. On the other hand, its acute petal apiculus and long stamens and styles are reminiscent of H. stellatum and H. curvisepalum. The type specimen of H. kouytchense and, probably, Bodinier 111 A (which I have not seen) differ from the other material studied (both wild and cultivated) in having more delicate stems, narrowly elliptic to narrowly lanceolate leaves that are smaller and thinner, and smaller flowers with narrower sepals, in all giving the plant a more delicate appearance. These differences suggest that the type is diploid (2n = 20), like H. uralum, H. dyeri and (by inference from the occurrence of that number in H. 'Rowallane') H. hookerianum and H. leschenaultii. On the other hand, the cultivated material, as well as Bodinier 2662 and Esquirol 1461, has stouter stems, thicker, lanceolate to ovate leaves, and larger flowers with broader sepals, all characters that would be expected in the tetraploid that it has proved to be (2n = 40, 36) . These numbers support its close relationship with H. beanii (2n = 36) and H. forrestii (2n = 38, 36); and H. pseudohenryi will doubtless also be shown to be tetraploid. When more material has been studied, both morphologically and cytologically, it may be best to treat H. kouytchense as two subspecies, diploid and tetraploid. At present, however, I shall maintain it undivided.