This plant comes from northern China. It one of about eight species of hairy perennial herbs. The large leaves grow from a basal rosette which is joined to other rosettes by fine underground roots. It spreads very easily in light soil and likes a lot of water.
The flower spikes grow up to 1 m high in good conditions. Flowers are about 10 centimetres by 4 centimetres in size. They are solitary occurring in the leaf axis and are a beautiful rose purple in colour. Each flower has a yellow throat dotted with purplish red spots. The flower is held in a position by a large calyx.
This is a beautiful plant plants for growing in a semi shady place and it makes an excellent Woodland plant. In 1877 it was granted a medal of Merit of the RHS.