Rhododendron balfourianum Diels

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An evergreen shrub up to 8 ft high in the wild; young shoots and midrib at first scurfy. Leaves oblong or narrowly ovate, sharply pointed, rounded at the base, 212 to 412 in. long, 34 to 112 in. wide, dark dullish green above, silvery grey with scurfy down beneath; stalk 12 to 34 in. long. Flowers in trusses of six to nine. Calyx deeply lobed, the five lobes ovate, blunt, 14 in. long, and, like the flower-stalks (which are about 1 in. long), very glandular. Corolla bell-shaped, 134 in. deep, rather more wide, five-lobed, pale rose with crimson spottings. Stamens downy at the base, shorter than the corolla; ovary and lower part of style densely glandular. (s. Taliense ss. Adenogynum)

Native of W. Yunnan, where it was found by Forrest on the Tali Range in 1906. It is perfectly hardy at Kew. Closely related to R. adenogynum, it is still very distinct in the pale metallic-looking under surface of the leaf.

var. aganniphoides Tagg & Forr. – Leaves longer, more lanceolate, up to 434 in. long, 134 in. wide, with a thicker indumentum. Style not glandular. Found by Forrest in the Muli region of S.W. Szechwan, and introduced by him. The truss figured in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 531, is from a plant raised from Kingdon Ward's seed-number 4177, collected in the same region and originally distributed as R. clementinae, a quite different species. He greatly admired the wild plants and refers to them under this erroneous name in Romance of Plant Hunting, p. 159.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

The var. aganniphoides is not recognised in the Edinburgh revision, there being no clear dividing line between it and the typical state.



Other species in the genus