Rhododendron collettianum Aitch, & Hemsl.

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An evergreen shrub of dwarf habit in cultivation, but described as 8 to 1 o ft high in the wild. Leaves 2 to 3 in. long, 13 to 58 in. wide; narrowly oval, pointed at both ends, dark dull green above, covered with brownish scales beneath; when crushed they have a strong, resinous, aromatic odour; stalk about 13 in. long. Flowers 1 in. across, white, produced during May in terminal clusters 2 to 212 in. across. Corolla with a funnel-shaped tube, hairy within, the five rounded oblong lobes not fully spreading; calyx with five narrow, oblong lobes rounded at the end, scaly, and very hairy at the margins; stamens ten, almost hidden within the corolla-tube, hairy near the bases. Bot. Mag., t. 7019. (s. Anthopogon)

Native of the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan; discovered in the Kurrum valley in 1879 by Sir Henry Collett and Dr Aitchison, and introduced the same year to Kew. It first flowered in the Kew rock garden in May 1888, and it is for such a position that it appears best adapted. It is allied to R. anthopogon, but the flowers have ten stamens and it is a more robust plant, with larger leaves.

For an account of this species and of R. afghanicum in their native habitat see R.C.Y.B. 1970, pp. 177-81.



Other species in the genus