Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don

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Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron anthopogon' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-anthopogon/). Accessed 2024-07-20.



  • incl. Rhododendron haemonium Balf. f. & Cooper
  • Rhododendron anthopogon var. haemonium (Balf. f. & Cooper) Cowan & Davidian

Other taxa in genus


The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
Immature shoot protected by scales that develops into leaves and/or flowers.
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.
(botanical) Contained within another part or organ.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron anthopogon' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-anthopogon/). Accessed 2024-07-20.

Small shrub, to 1 m; leaf bud scales persistent or deciduous. Leaves (1–)1.4–3.5 × 0.8–1.6 cm, ovate to elliptic, rarely orbicular, apex rounded, mucronate, lower surface covered with 2–3 tiers of overlapping scales, the upper tier dark brown (rarely pale), those of the lowest tier at least as dark as the rest. Flowers 15–20, in a dense racemose umbel; calyx lobes 3.5–4.5 mm; corolla white or pink (rarely yellowish), hypocrateriform, tube 6–12 mm, densely pilose within, lobes 4–7.5 mm, glabrous; stamens (5–)6–8(–10); ovary scaly. Flowering April-May Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

An evergreen shrub 2 ft or less high, of compact habit; young branchlets hairy and covered with brown scurf; leaf-bud scales deciduous. Leaves oval or ovate, 1 to 112 in. long, 12 to 34 in. wide, dark, rather glossy green above, covered with brown scales beneath; stalk 14 in. long. Flowers white, pink, or sulphur-coloured, 12 to 34 in. across, produced in a small terminal cluster, 1 to 112 in. wide. Corolla thin, almost transparent, tube hairy inside expanding at the mouth into five wavy lobes; calyx-lobes oblong, pale green, 18 in. long, fringed at the margin; stamens five to eight, very short, and included within the tube; flower-stalk scaly, 16 in. or less in length; style short and thick. Flowers in April. Bot. Mag., t. 3947. (s. Anthopogon)

Native of the high Himalaya from Kashmir eastwards, up to 16,000 ft altitude, where it covers large areas; introduced in 1820. The whole plant has a strong, aromatic, slightly acrid odour, especially when crushed. It is an interesting little plant, and one of the hardiest of Himalayan species, but not in any way showy.

The Award of Merit was given on April 29, 1969 to the clone ‘Betty Graham’, with deep pink flowers, raised from Ludlow and Sherriff 1091 and shown by E. H. M. and P. A. Cox.

subsp. anthopogon

Leaf bud scales deciduous.

Distribution Nepal, N India (Uttar Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh), Bhutan, China (S Tibet).

Habitat 3,350–4,900m.

Awards AM 1955 (Mrs L.C.R. Messel & National Trust, Nymans Garden); flowers Fuchsine Pink. AM 1969 (E.H.M. & P.A. Cox, Glendoick Gardens, Perth) to a clone ‘Betty Graham’, from L. & S. 1091; flowers deep pink.

subsp. hypenanthum (Balf.f.) Cullen

R. hypenanthum Balf.f.

Leaf bud scales persistent.

Distribution NW India (Kashmir to Uttar Pradesh), Nepal, Bhutan.

Habitat 3,350–4,500m.

Awards AM 1974 (Glendoick Gardens Ltd, Perth) to a clone ‘Annapurna’, as R. hypenanthum, from S., S. & W. 9090; flowers yellow, with darker staining.

Taxonomic note (R. hypenanthum Balf.f.)

Subsp. hypenanthum is a western vicariad of subsp. anthopogon. Var. album Davidian is a white-flowered variant of subsp. anthopogon.

Bean described this taxon as R. hypenanthum Balf.f. “This rhododendron is very closely related to R. anthopogon and was not distinguished from it until 1916. In the true R. anthopogon the scales that surround the base of the winter-buds fall away as soon as, or soon after, the leaves open; but in R. hypenanthum these scales – triangular, overlapping, and ciliate – remain clasping the twigs for several years. So far as is known, the flowers in R. hypenanthum are always yellow. It is a native of the Himalaya, but has not yet been found east of Nepal.” (Bean 1981)