Rhododendron microphyton Franch.

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An evergreen azalea 1 to 3 (or occasionally up to 6) ft high, of bushy, twiggy habit; young shoots densely clothed with pale, reddish-brown, appressed, flattened, forward-pointing bristles. Leaves oval, ovate, or lanceolate, 12 to 112 in. long, 13 to 34 in. wide, pointed, of a bronzy tinge when young, bright green above when older and sprinkled with bristles; the lower surface paler and with appressed bristles, especially on the midrib, margins bristly; stalk 112 to 18 in. long. Flowers four to six together in terminal clusters opening in April and May. Calyx-lobes five, varying from 116 to 1/6 in. long, covered with bright brown bristles like the flower-stalks, which are 1/6 in. long. Corolla pale rosy lilac with carmine or crimson spots on the three upper lobes, 34 to 114 in. wide and long, five-lobed, the lobes ovate, spreading, contracted at the base to a cylindrical tube, faintly downy inside. Stamens 58 to 78 in. long, downy towards the base; anthers deep rose. Ovary covered with bright brown hairs; style glabrous. (s. Azalea ss. Obtusum)

Native of Yunnan, China; discovered by the Abbé Delavay about 1884, and a little later by Henry. Forrest found it on the eastern flank of the Tali range in 1906, but did not send seeds until 1913. It belongs to the Obtusum group of azaleas, characterised by the forward-pointing appressed bristles on the vegetative parts; the long cylindrical tube of the corolla is distinctive. It is a pretty, free-flowering plant, the flowers sometimes almost white. Only hardy in the south and west.



Other species in the genus