Rhododendron calophytum Franch.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Rhododendron calophytum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-calophytum/). Accessed 2020-07-11.

Genus

Infraspecifics

Other species in genus

Glossary

calyx
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
corolla
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
corolla
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
glabrous
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
midrib
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
oblanceolate
Inversely lanceolate; broadest towards apex.
ovary
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
stigma
(in a flower) The part of the carpel that receives pollen and on which it germinates. May be at the tip of a short or long style or may be reduced to a stigmatic surface at the apex of the ovary.
style
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron calophytum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-calophytum/). Accessed 2020-07-11.

Tree, (2-)5-12 m. Leaves 14-30 x 4-7.2 cm, oblong-oblanceolate, base cuneate, glabrous when mature or with vestiges of juvenile indumentum persisting along underside of midrib. Flowers 5-30, usually in a lax truss, 5-7-lobed, pinkish white, with purple flecks and a basal blotch, open-campanulate, nectar pouches lacking; stamens 15-20; ovary and style glabrous, stigma conspicuous, discoid. Flowering March-April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

Distribution  China Sichuan, NE Yunnan, Guizhou

Habitat 1,800-4,000 m

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

An evergreen tree up to 45 ft high. Leaves obovate to oblanceolate, abruptly pointed, wedge-shaped at the base, 8 to 12 in. long, 2 to 312 in. wide, glabrous except for some floss on the midrib beneath when young. Flowers up to thirty in trusses 6 to 8 in. across. Flower-stalk 112 to 3 in. long, glabrous. Calyx very small. Corolla five- to eight-lobed, 212 in. wide, not so deep, bell-shaped, white or rosy with a large, conspicuous, dark crimson blotch at the base. Stamens sixteen to twenty-two, of very unequal length but shorter than the corolla, slightly downy at the base; ovary and style glabrous; stigma very large, 14 in. wide, yellow; seed-pod 1 in. long, 13 in. wide. Flowers in April. Bot. Mag., t. 9173. (s. Fortunei ss. Calophytum)

Native of W. Szechwan; discovered by the Abbé David near Mupin in 1869. Wilson introduced it in 1904 when collecting for Messrs Veitch and again in larger quantity four years later, during his first expedition for the Arnold Arboretum. According to him it is common in the forests of W. Szechwan, and grows to a larger size than any other rhododendron found in that region.

It is one of the noblest of Chinese rhododendrons and is perfectly hardy, needing only shelter from wind and some shade. In its very large, almost glabrous leaves it resembles R. sutchuenense but they are of a richer green, the flowers are smaller, on longer, red stalks. The knob-like stigma is very conspicuous.

A form with white flowers flushed with pink received an Award of Merit on March 9, 1920, when shown by Messrs Reuthe, who had flowered the species for the first time in 1916. The beautiful pale pink form grown at South Lodge, Lower Beeding, Sussex, was awarded a First Class Certificate when Dame Alice Godman showed it on April 4, 1933.


var. calophytum

Leaves 18-30cm long, apex acuminate; flowers 15-30 in a truss.

Awards AM 1920 (G. Reuthe, Keston, Kent); flowers white, heavily flushed pink. FCC 1933 (Dame Alice Godman, South Lodge, Horsham); flowers pale pink. AGM 1993

var. openshawianum (Rehder & E.H.Wilson) D.F.Chamb.

Synonyms
R. openshawianum Rehder & E.H.Wilson

Leaves 14-18.5 cm long, apex cuspidate; flowers 5-10 in a truss. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

Plants referable to both varieties occur in cultivation. From the description, var. pauciflorum W.K. Hu, which is said to be in cultivation, is only doubtfully distinct from var. openshawianum. This is an imposing arid very distinctive species. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

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