An evergreen shrub or, in the wild, sometimes a tree over 30 ft high, with a short trunk 1 ft in diameter; young wood reddish and scurfy; outer flowerbud scales leaf-like, the inner ones reflexed at the apex. Leaves narrowly obovate to oblong, 4 to 10 in. long, 1 to 21⁄2 in. wide, cuneate at the base, dark green above, pale beneath, and covered there with a close, thin indumentum which usually disappears within a few months but sometimes persists for more than a year; stalk stout, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Flowers up to thirty in a compact terminal truss on viscid and downy stalks 1 to 11⁄2 in. long. Calyx with ovate, rounded lobes, slightly downy, 3⁄16 in. long. Corolla wide campanulate, rose-coloured or purplish pink, spotted with greenish yellow or deep yellow-orange on the upper lobes, about 11⁄2 in. across, with five rounded lobes. Stamens eight to twelve, the filaments downy. Ovary glandular-hairy; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 951.
(s. and ss. Ponticum)
Native of the eastern USA; introduced to Britain in 1736 by Peter Collinson, but now rarely seen in gardens. Its trusses are small and are produced late, at the end of June and in July, and make little display among the young growths, which by that time are almost fully expanded. It has, however, played its part in the development of the hardy hybrids (see further on pages 818-19).
f. album (Pursh) Fern. R. maximum var, album Pursh; R. purshii G. Don – Flowers white; wild with the type.