Rhododendron prattii Franch.


R. faberi sens. Hort. Veitch., not Hemsl.

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A stiff evergreen shrub up to 12 ft high in the wild; young shoots clothed with loose brown down, becoming glabrous. Leaves stiff and hard in texture, oval or broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, abruptly narrowed at the apex to a short point, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, 3 to 8 in. long, 112 to 312 in. wide; glossy dark green and soon nearly or quite glabrous above, thinly downy beneath in two layers, the upper one brown and wearing off in great part, the under one paler, close, and permanent; stalk 58 to 118 in. long. Flowers produced in April and May a dozen to twenty together in a truss 3 to 6 in. wide; flower-stalks 34 to 1 in. long, covered with tawny, glandular down. Calyx divided almost to the base into five ovate membranous lobes 13 to 58 in. long, downy outside, and glandular-ciliate. Corolla white, pink-tinged, with a crimson blotch and spots at the base, 112 to 2 in. long and wide, bell-shaped, downy inside towards the base, five-lobed, the lobes 12 in. long. Stamens ten, 13 to 1 in. long, downy at the base; ovary felted; style glabrous or glanded at the base, longer than the stamens. Bot. Mag., t. 9414. (s. Taliense ss. Adenogynum)

Native of W. Szechwan, China; discovered by Pratt near Tatsien-lu (Kangting); introduced by Wilson in 1904. It is quite hardy at Kew and flowers regularly; the foliage is handsome, but the colouring is not particularly effective. The large membranous calyx is distinctive. Wilson describes it as a woodland species and it undoubtedly needs partial shade. It has been very much confused in gardens with R. faberi, owing to its having been wrongly identified with that species in the Plantae Wilsonianae, vol. i, p. 533, and distributed from the Coombe Wood Nursery under that name. The true R. faberi is distinct in the thicker woolly tomentum beneath the leaf and is rare in cultivation.

On April 18, 1967, the Award of Merit was given to a seedling of R. prattii exhibited by Major A. E. Hardy, Sandling Park, Kent, and named 'Perry Wood'.



Other species in the genus