Shrubs, deciduous, erect or procumbent, to 2.5 m tall, sometimes only 10-20 cm tall at high elevations. Bark splitting. Branches with solid pith. Winter buds with several obtuse scales. Young branches white lanate or subglabrous, sometimes minutely glandular hairy; often leaves dropping at apex and leaving needlelike bare twigs. Leaves in whorls of 3 or opposite; petiole 1-3 mm; leaf blade linear-lanceolate to oblong, 0.5-3.7 × 0.1-1 cm, abaxially white lanate, sparsely pubescent, or glabrous, adaxially glabrous or rarely minutely glandular hairy, base cuneate to subcordate, margin revolute, apex acute to obtuse and slightly mucronate. Inflorescences axillary, paired flowers at bases of young branches; peduncle 0-3 mm; bracts, bracteoles, and margins of sepals minutely puberulent and glandular; bracts leaflike, linear-lanceolate, exceeding ovary; bracteoles cupular, sometimes lobed or rarely completely separate, ca. 1/2 as long as or equaling ovary. Neighboring 2 ovaries free, ca. 2 mm, glabrous. Sepals narrowly lanceolate to ovate-triangular, 2.5-3 mm. Flowers fragrant. Corolla white or pink to purple-red, tubular-funnelform; tube 8-10 mm, outside often puberulent and minutely glandular hairy, inside pubescent and glandular at base; lobes spreading, ovate, 2-4 mm. Stamens up to middle of corolla tube or slightly exceeding corolla tube, longer than style. Ovary usually 3-locular. Berry red, ellipsoid, ca. 8 mm; seeds few, brownish, ellipsoid, compressed, ca. 4 mm. Fl. May-Aug, fr. Aug-Oct.
Alpine scrub and meadows, rock crevices, scree slopes, grasslands, forest margins, deserts; 2000-5000 m. Gansu, S Ningxia, Qinghai, Sichuan, Xizang, NW Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Nepal].