Rhododendron searsiae Rehd. & Wils.

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An evergreen shrub 6 to 10 ft high; young shoots freely set with pale scales, prominently warted the following year. Leaves narrowly oblong or oblanceolate, slenderly pointed, much tapered at each end, 2 to 312 in. long, 12 to 78 in. wide, dark green and at first scaly above, becoming glabrous; glaucous beneath, freely sprinkled with small yellowish scales, amongst which are scattered large brown ones; margins slightly decurved; stalk 14 to 13 in. long, scaly. Flowers produced during late April and May in terminal clusters of four to eight, occasionally augmented by others from the uppermost leaf-axils; common flower-stalk 14 to 12 in. long; individual stalks 13 to 58 in. long, scaly. Calyx very scaly, small, five-lobed. Corolla 1 to 112 in. long, 112 to 2 in. wide, the base funnel-shaped, the five lobes ovate-oblong, rounded at the end; pale lavender to almost white spotted with pale green, not scaly outside. Stamens ten, of varying length, downy towards but not at the base; anthers pale brown; style glabrous, slightly overtopping the stamens. Bot. Mag., t. 8993. (s. Triflorum ss. Yunnanense)

Native of W. Szechwan; discovered by Wilson on the Wa-shan in 1908 and introduced by him. It is distinguished from its allies by the undersides of the leaves, which show a mixture of closely arranged yellow and brown scales on a glaucous ground. In R. zaleucum the leaves are also glaucous beneath – more intensely so than in R. searsiae – but the scales are more widely spaced, mostly twice to four times their own diameter apart, usually less than their own diameter apart in R. searsiae. A pretty and quite hardy species.



Other species in the genus