Rhododendron agastum Balf. f. & W. W. Sm.

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An evergreen shrub or small tree up to 20 ft high; young shoots thinly floccose and sticky with small glands. Leaves oblong or oblong-elliptic, rounded to obtuse or subacute and mucronate at the apex, up to 6 in. long and 2 in. wide, glabrous above, clad beneath with a more or less persistent film-like coating of hairs; petiole about 1 in. long. Flowers up to twenty or so in a terminal truss on pedicels about 78 in. long, opening in early spring, sometimes as early as February. Calyx minute. Corolla tubular-campanulate, about 134 in. long, 2 in. across, five- to seven-lobed, rose-coloured or white tinged with pink, speckled and blotched with crimson (sometimes unspotted). Stamens ten to fourteen, downy at the base. Ovary glandular; style stout, partly or wholly glandular, with a large discoid stigma. Bot. Mag., t. 9577. (s. and ss. Irroratum)

Native of mid-Yunnan at comparatively low altitudes; discovered by Forrest in 1913 and 1914 near the border between Yunnan and Burma, north-west of Tengyueh, and above the Yangpi valley, south-west of the Tali range. The date of introduction is uncertain, but the truss depicted in the Botanical Magazine is from a plant that flowered in E. J. P. Magor's garden at Lamellen, Cornwall, in April 1929. The true species appears to be very rare in cultivation.



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