Sunday, 10 May 2009

Rhododendron Thomsoni

Curtis's Botanical Magazine 4997 Vol. LXXXIII (1857)

TAB. 4997.
Dr. Thomson's Rhododendron.

Gen. Char. (Vide supra, TAB. 4336.)

RHODODENDRON Thomsoni; frutex cortice pallide papyraceo, foliis in ramos terminiales coriaceis glaberrimis orbiculari-ellipticis obtusissimis apiculatis basicordatis supra laete virentibus subtus glaucescentibus margine subrecurvo, petiolo gracili, corymbis plurifloris, pedunculis longitudine petiolorum, flo-ribus radiatim patentibus cernuisve, calyce amplo cylindraceo-cyathiformibasi retuso inrequaliter lobato, lobis erectis obtusissimis, corolla intense sanguinea coriaceo-nitida, tubo elongato-campanuliformi, limbi lobis 5 patenti-subrecurvis profunde emarginatis superioribus intus maculatis, staminibus 10, filamentis nudis, ovario conico-cylindraceo glaberrimo 6-10-loculari,stylo gracili, capsula calyce cylindraceo persistente , tecta. Hook.fil.

RHODODENDRON Thomsoni. Hook.fil. Rhod. Sik.-Himal. t. 12, et in Journ. Hort. Soc. of London, p. 77.

B, Candelabrum; floribus pallidioribus, calycis brevioris marginibus ovariisque glanduloso-pilosis.

RHODODENDRON Candelabrum. Hook.fil. Rhod. Sik.-Him. t. 29.

Native of the inner and outer ridges of the mountains of Sikkim-Himalaya, abundant at elevations varying from eleven to thirteen thousand feet. Mr. Methven, of the Stanwell Nur-series, Bonnington Road, Edinburgh, was so fortunate as to flower this charming species in April of the present year (1857), and was so good as to transmit the specimen here figured. From the elevation at which this plant is found above the sea-level, it may be justly esteemed a hardy plant; but it must be understood that except we have the power of retarding the blossoms, we can only look for their proper development in unusually favourable seasons, save with the protection of a frame or cool greenhouse. The calyx affords a very distinct feature in this species, and although in the Rhododendron Candlabrum of Dr. Hooker it is much shorter than in the present plant, it has nevertheless the same general form and character, and that author has with propriety considered the two as specifically the same. The plant is wholly destitute of the minute appressed scales so copious in many kinds of Rhododendron.

DESCR. Dr. Hooker gives the following particulars of this species from native specimens :-" A shrub six to ten feet, or in damp woods, fifteen feet, high, but in the latter case spare and woody. Lower branches stout, a foot in diameter; upper slender,leafy, principally at the extremities. Leaves two to three inches long, very broad, much resembling those of R. campylocarpum (Tab. Nostr. 4968), only that in the latter the leaf-stalks are often glandular, here never. The texture of the leaves is coriaceous, but not very thick; the colour full green, below subglabrous, everywhere quite glabrous. Flowers in a head of six to eight together, from the ends of the short branches among the leaves, on stalks an inch or more long, which radiate as it were from a centre, spreading horizontally or curling downwards.Corolla remarkable from its almost unrivalled deep blood-colour and glossy surface, yielding only in those respects to R. fulgens, deeper-coloured than in R. arboreum; the tube elongated, often vertically compressed, two inches long; the limb large, spreading, five-lobed, the lobes notched, upper ones spotted within. This species is perfectly inodorous. In the base of the corolla is secreted much honey, which is not considered poisonous, like that yielded by R. Dalhousie and R. argenteum. The two latter species are said to render deleterious the wild honey which is collected during their flowering season.

Fig. 1. Calyx, including the pistil. 2. Stamen. 3. Ovary. 4. Transversesection of the same. 5. Ovary included in the persistent calyx:-nat. size.

AUGUST 1ST, 1857.

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