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Rhododendron fulgens Hook. f.

Modern name

Rhododendron fulgens Hook. f.

An evergreen shrub 6 to almost 20 ft high, with stiff branches and peeling bark. Leaves oval, 3 to 4 in. long, 112 to 2 in. wide; rounded at the end except for a short, abrupt tip, somewhat heart-shaped at the base; covered beneath with a thick reddish-brown felt. Flowers blood-red, 1 to 114 in. across, densely packed in hemispherical trusses 312 in. wide. Calyx very small, shallowly lobed. Corolla bell-shaped, with five shallow, notched lobes; stamens ten, much shorter than the corolla, not downy; ovary glabrous, style crimson. Bot. Mag., t. 5317. (s. Campanulatum)

Native of the Himalaya from Nepal eastward; introduced by J. D. Hooker in 1850. This species is very similar to R. campanulatum in foliage, but is not quite so hardy nor so free in growth. Its flowers are rich red and appear during March and April. A suitable spot for it is some sheltered outskirt of woodland, especially where the flowers may be protected from early morning sunlight. At Kew the various titmice are very fond of pecking a hole through the base of the corolla, presumably to get at the honey. An ornamental feature of the plant is the crimson bracts that accompany the young growth in spring.

Award of Merit March 21, 1933, when exhibited by Gerald Loder, Wakehurst Place, Sussex.

R. succothii Davidian – A species apparently allied to R. fulgens, differing in having the leaves glabrous beneath, very shortly stalked (up to barely 14 in. long), clustered in whorls on the branchlets. It resembles R. fulgens in its flowers and peeling bark. Discovered in 1915 by Roland Cooper in Bhutan, where seeds were collected by Ludlow and Sherriff in 1937 and again in 1949. It was also found by Kingdon Ward in 1938 on the Poshing La, Assam Himalaya. The species is named after Sir George Campbell of Succoth, Bt, and was described in 1965 (R.C.Y.B. 1966, p. 103).



Other species in the genus