Saturday, 9 May 2009
Rhododendron dalhousiae (in its native locality)
The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya: Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the Rhododendrons Recently Discovered in the Mountains of Eastern Himalaya, from Drawings and Descriptions Made on the Spot, During a Government Botanical Mission to that Country
Joseph Dalton Hooker, William Jackson Hooker, Walter Hood Fitch
Published by Reeve, Benham, and Reeve, 1849 - 1851
A straggling shrub, six to eight feet high, always seen growing, like the tropical Orchideae, among moss and Ferns and Aroidea, upon the trunks of large trees: the stems clothed with a reddish papery bark, the branches straggling, patent,whorled, the whorls distant; each branch bearing its leaves and flowers only at the extremity. Leaves few, patent or reflexed, petiolate, about four inches and a half to five in length, elliptical-obovate, between coriaceous and membranaceous, obtuse at the base, attenuated below into a more or less downy footstalk, about half an inch long, the margin plane (not revolute),the upper surface darkish-green, inclining to a yellow hue, even on the surface, beneath paler, dotted with very minute,scattered, rusty-coloured- scales or points (scarcely sufficient to change the general tint), the mid-rib prominent, the rather close parallel nerves scarcely so. Flowers three to seven in a terminal, umbellate head, the spread of which is greater than that of the leaves. Peduncles nearly an inch long, stout, cylindrical, downy. Bracteas ligulate, membranaceous. Calyx large, deeply divided almost to the base into five ovato-elliptical, very obtuse, spreading, foliaceous lobes. Corolla very large, three inches and a half to four inches and a half long, and as broad at the mouth, campanulate, white, with an occasional tinge of rose, in size and colour and general shape almost resembling that of the white Bourbon Lily, Lilium candidum, very fragrant. At the contracted base of the tube are five deep foveolae. Lobes of the limb nearly equal, very broad, rounded, waved, spreading. Stamens ten : filaments longer than the tube, curved upwards, downy below.Anther oblong-ovate, dark purple-brown. Ovary ovate, furfuraceous, five-celled, tapering into the thickened style, which is longer than the stamens. Stigma an orbicular, convex disk. Certainly, whether we regard the size, the colour, or the fragrance of the blossoms of this plant, they are the noblest of the genus Rhododendron. The odour partakes of that of the Lemon. In age the flowers assume a delicate roseate tingeand sometimes become spotted with orange, which rather adds to, than detracts from, their beauty.
TAB. I. Represents a plant of R. Dalhousiae, on a very reduced scale, in its native locality.
TAB. II. Flowering branch. 1. Stamen. 2. Anther. 3. Pistil:-natural size. 4. Section of ovary. 5. Pollen with boyau :-magnified.