Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron aurigeranum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub or small tree to 4 m, mostly terrestrial; young stems green at first rather densely covered in flat brown scales; Leaves 8-16 x 4-7 cm, elliptic to oblong, the apex short acuminate to acute, sometimes deflexed, the margin smooth and flat, the base broadly or narrowly tapering; upper surface very lightly puckered, the small silvery scales disappearing early, the midrib grooved near the base, very slightly impressed, later veins 6-8 pairs, very slightly impressed; lower surface finely covered with small deeply lobed brown scales with small centres, midrib strongly raised almost the total length of the leaf, lateral veins only slightly raised in the basal half. Flowers with 8-14 flowers per umbel, semi-erect to horizontal; calyx a low inconspicuous ring; corolla bright yellow or orange or yellow with orange flushing, funnel-shaped, 5-7 x 5.5-7.5 cm, with scattered small brown scales outside; stamens 10, loosely arranged on the lower side of the corolla sometimes in two groups, sometimes all round the mouth; ovary covered in silvery hairs and scales, the style hairy and scaly in the lower 3/4 the scales rising beyond the hairs but totally glabrous in the upper 1 cm. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Papua New Guinea Morobe Province mainly in the Bulolo-Wau area
Habitat 900-1,800 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
The very showy flowers and the accessible locality from which it comes, mean this has long been a popular species in cultivation and has been used extensively as a parent in hybridizing. It is also one of the easiest although it needs space to reach its full potential. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)