Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles
'Rhododendron anthosphaerum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub or small tree, 3–12 m. Leaves 6–16 × 2–4.5 cm, elliptic-oblong to oblong, apex acute to acuminate, lower surface glabrous though with a few red punctate hairs overlying the veins. Flowers 6–7-lobed, 10–15, in a dense truss, rose-magenta to crimson or magenta-blue to pale peach, sometimes with purple flecks and/or a basal blotch, tubular-campanulate, with nectar pouches, 30–45 mm; ovary usually glabrous, style glabrous. Flowering March-April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Myanmar NE China SE Tibet, Yunnan
Habitat 2,700–4,000 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H3
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note This species differs from all others in the subsection in its 6–7-lobed corollas. The flower colour is particularly variable. R. eritimum is said to differ in its rounded, not acute leaf apex. There is however, gradation from one form to the other, making this an unreliable diagnostic character. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).
An evergreen shrub or a small tree up to 30 ft high. Leaves oblong, oblong- lanceolate, or oblong-oblanceolate, 4 to 6 in. long, 7⁄8 to 17⁄8 in. wide, acute to obtuse at the apex, glabrous. Flowers in terminal trusses of ten to fifteen, borne early in spring, sometimes in February; pedicels 3⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. long, floccose and sometimes glandular also. Calyx minute, usually glabrous, but sometimes with the same covering as the pedicels. Corolla five- to seven-lobed, tubular-campanulate, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, commonly crimson, rose-magenta or blue-magenta, with darker nectar-pouches at the base and sometimes spotted inside, occasionally white or, in the type of R. persicinum, peach-coloured. Stamens ten to fourteen, downy near the base or glabrous. Ovary glabrous or slightly hairy; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 9083. (s. and ss. Irroratum)
Native of N.W. Yunnan and bordering parts of upper Burma; discovered by Forrest below the Sungkwei pass in 1906 and introduced by him. Although hardy in a sheltered position south of London, its flowers are of little beauty and both they and the young growths are often destroyed by frost.