Rhododendron beesianum Diels

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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 beesianum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-beesianum/). Accessed 2024-05-27.



  • Rhododendron colletum Balf. f. & Forr.
  • Rhododendron emaculatum Balf. f. & Forr.

Other taxa in genus


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Inversely lanceolate; broadest towards apex.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
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 beesianum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-beesianum/). Accessed 2024-05-27.

Shrub or tree, 1.8–9 m. Leaves 9–19 × 2.6–8.2 cm, apex apiculate, lower surface with a thin one-layered compacted fawn to brown indumentum composed of stellate hairs; petioles sometimes winged, glabrous or floccose. Flowers 10–25, in a dense truss; calyx 0.5–1 mm; corolla white flushed rose to pink, with or without purple flecks and/or a basal blotch, broadly campanulate, nectar pouches lacking; ovary densely white-to brown-tomentose, style glabrous. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

Distribution  Myanmar NE China NW Yunnan, SW Sichuan

Habitat 3,350–4,250 m

RHS Hardiness Rating H6

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

Taxonomic note A distinctive species on account of the size of the leaves. In the wild it usually occurs in the shelter of trees; in cultivation it is prone to leaf snap if planted in an exposed position. It is a difficult subject in cultivation. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

An evergreen shrub or small tree up to 20 ft high; young shoots stout, nearly 12 in. in diameter, soon glabrous. Leaves elliptic-oblong, inclined to oblanceolate, rather abruptly narrowed to a short point, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, 6 in. to over 1 ft long, 112 to 312 in. wide, dark green and glabrous above, covered beneath with a thin, close, red-brown, felt-like down; stalk up to 114 in. long, slightly flattened or winged. Flowers in a racemose truss of twenty or more and 5 or 6 in. across, each flower on a downy stalk 1 to 112 in. long. Calyx merely a wavy rim. Corolla openly bell-shaped, 2 in. long and wide, white to deep rich rose with a few crimson markings or a basal blotch, five-lobed. Stamens ten, downy at the base, about 1 in. long; ovary cylindrical, covered with brown down; style glabrous, 1 in. long. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 125 (s. Lacteum)

R. beesianum was discovered by Forrest in 1906 on the eastern flank of the Lichiang range in N.W. Yunnan and was subsequently found to have a wide range, from S.W. Szechwan to the eastern end of the Himalaya. It occurs at 11,000 to 14,000 ft and often forms miniature forests above the coniferous belt. Forrest sent seed of this species many times from 1906 onwards, and so later did Kingdon Ward and Rock. It is one of the large-leaved species of the Lacteum series and, like R. lacteum itself, is difficult to cultivate and uncommon, though quite hardy. It needs shelter from wind and some shade. There are fine specimens in the Edinburgh collection, and at Blackhills, Morayshire.