Rhododendron glanduliferum

Douglas Justice contributes today’s photos and article. Thank you, Douglas.

These are two of a large number of seedlings derived from collections made in 1994 by the late Peter Wharton, former curator of the David C. Lam Asian Garden. Peter traveled to northern Guizhou, China, in the autumn of that year, where he visited the Dashahe Cathaya Reserve. Peter’s notes reveal that this area was exceptionally rich in temperate species and he collected a large quantity of seed, mostly at between 1300 m and 1600 m elevation (see also the June 26, 2005 Botany Photo of the Day entry for Carrierea calycina). Curiously, Rhododendron glanduliferum is not a species listed in the Flora of China as occurring outside of Yunnan, but again, Peter’s notes make mention of the several handsome specimens in the reserve over 20 m tall from which he collected seed. All of our plants are exceptionally robust and are now about 3 m tall and tree-like. The handsome 20-25 cm × 5-6 cm leaves are dark, matt green above and light green to glaucous beneath. On at least some of the individuals the margin of the leaf is minutely serrated and somewhat cartilagenous.

In Vancouver, Rhododendron glanduliferum generally produces its flowers in June. The large trusses of between 5 and 13 flowers open slowly and somewhat randomly over the plants. While most of our plants are at some stage of blooming now, we have a few May-flowering individuals and a number that have not yet begun to open their buds. The 8-9 cm wide flowers are usually white or soft pink and fading, and are fragrant, smelling strongly and pleasantly of wintergreen to most noses. The pedicels (flower stalks), corolla and calyx, as well as the ovary and style are all covered in stalked glands, hence the epithet glanduliferum (bearing glands).

Rhododendron glanduliferum
Rhododendron glanduliferum
Rhododendron glanduliferum

5 responses to “Rhododendron glanduliferum”

  1. Meg Bernstein

    How fabulous. Didn’t know they grew so tall.

  2. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    So beautiful! And 20 m tall, that must present quite a vision. I love the soft, almost translucent texture of the petals. And that soft pink… sigh…
    Words aren’t adequate.

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    lovely just lovely
    i was born in the north of the states
    trips to the mountains to see the rhodys
    are deep in my memories the one in ma
    grew up to the roof of a two storey house
    my may copy of english garden magazine
    shows a garden with cornish red rhododendrons
    your bc rhody site is just fine pot lucks also
    live in florida now near sarasota
    on the gulf canada is helping with the spill
    thank you

  4. Wendy Cutler

    Thanks for posting that awesome second photo.

  5. kate

    What the purpose of the glands on the stalk?
    My best memories of Rhododendrons are in Goteborg, Sweden. I never would have though they could grow so far north, but the Gulf Stream moderates the climate and they are happy, happy there!

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