Better late than never for an entry, I suppose. It was a long day working on an app we’re getting close to completing (sorry, not a BPotD app) — more details on that soon. In the meantime, enjoy this photograph and write-up, both by Taisha. She writes:
This photo of Rhodoendron praevernum is from an unnamed selection of the species made by noted Rhododendron enthusiast, Del James. I took this photo a couple of weeks ago on March 7th, when the plant was in the midst of blossoming in the David C. Lam Asian Garden. This species opens its flowers earlier than quite a few others locally–which makes sense when thinking about its epithet, praevernum. Daniel and Douglas today reminded me that vernum pertains to spring (the Latin word for spring being vernus), while prae is Latin for “before”.
To reinforce the notion that this is an early bloomer, Daniel has photographs of this species (perhaps even the same plant) from February of 2003. If you’re interested in learning more about the rhododendrons of UBC Botanical Garden, see the January 2010 issue (20:1) of Davidsonia (PDF) where Douglas goes into detail about some of the (approximately) 450 taxa grown in the Garden. It includes a mention of today’s plant. To see a regional bloom calendar for rhododendrons, check out “Twelve Months of Flowering Rhododendrons” (PDF) from Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens.