Rhododendron pseudochrysanthum Hayata

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An evergreen shrub of variable habit in the wild, sometimes up to 10 ft high, but a dwarf bush at high altitudes; young stems stout, clad with grey floccose hairs and stalked glands. Leaves thick and rigid, crowded, lanceolate, oblong-elliptic or oblong-oblanceolate, 112 to 3 in. long, 34 to 114 in. wide, apex rounded, abruptly narrowed to a short, stiff point, rounded at the base, dark green above, paler beneath, both surfaces at first clad with a loose, greyish flock which gradually wears away; petiole about 12 in. long. Flowers borne in April, ten to twenty in a fairly dense truss, on glandular pedicels up to 1 in. long. Calyx minute, fringed with glands. Corolla five-lobed, campanulate, 114 to 134 in. long and wide, pale pink or white, speckled within, and with deeper-coloured streaks outside along the ridges. Stamens ten, hairy at the base. Ovary glandular-hairy; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 284. (s. Barbatum ss. Maculiferum)

Native of Formosa, where according to Wilson it grows gregariously on the higher peaks of the central range, covering large areas with impenetrable thickets, and preferring open, rocky, wind-swept situations. Wilson introduced it in 1918 from the summit of Mt Morrison, at over 13,000 ft, where it grows only 1 ft high. There was a second introduction around 1938, when seeds collected by Prof. Yashiroda were received in this country. It is related to R. morii, but that species has the leaves less hairy when young and also longer and relatively narrower.

R. pseudochrysanthum is a hardy but slow-growing species, best grown in full sun or only slight shade. It does not flower freely when young, but patience will be rewarded, for it is one of the most beautiful of the hardy kinds. It is rarely more than 4 ft high in cultivation, but grows much wider than high.

R. pseudochrysanthum received an Award of Merit when shown by Edmund de Rothschild from his garden at Exbury on May 1, 1956. The truss figured in the Botanical Magazine is also from a plant at Exbury.



Other species in the genus