Rhododendron callimorphum Balf. f. & W. W. Sm.

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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 callimorphum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-callimorphum/). Accessed 2024-05-26.



  • Rhododendron hedythamnum Balf. f. & Forr.
  • Rhododendron cyclium 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.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Bearing glands.
Grey-blue often from superficial layer of wax (bloom).
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Short straight point. mucronate Bearing a mucro.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.
Appearing as if cut off.


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

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron callimorphum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-callimorphum/). Accessed 2024-05-26.

Small shrub, 0.5–3 m. Leaves 3.5–7 × 3–5 cm, broadly ovate to orbicular, base cordate, glabrous though occasionally glandular on midrib beneath. Flowers 4–8, in a lax truss, white to rose-pink, campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, 30–40 mm; ovary stalked-glandular, style glabrous. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

Distribution  China W Yunnan

Habitat 3,000–4,000 m

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)

An evergreen shrub up to 9 ft high in the wild, forming a rounded bush in cultivation as wide as it is high; young shoots usually clothed at first with stalked glands. Leaves round to roundish ovate, the base truncate, rounded or heart-shaped, the apex with a short mucro, 1 to 3 in. long, usually not quite so wide, dark glossy green and with scattered hairs above, glaucous beneath with glands on the midrib and margin; stalk 38 to 1 in. long, usually very glandular. Flowers opening during April and May in a terminal truss of five to eight flowers. Calyx very small with shallow triangular lobes, glandular like the flower-stalk which is 34 in. long. Corolla openly bell-shaped, five-lobed, 112 in. long and wide, pale or deep rose with a blotch of intense crimson at the base, lobes notched. Stamens ten, their white stalks from 12 to 1 in. long, glabrous except for (occasionally) a few minute hairs at the base; anthers brown. Ovary covered with red glands, of which a few extend a short way up the style. Bot. Mag., t. 8789. (s. Thomsonii ss. Campylocarpum)

Native of W. Yunnan and N.E. upper Burma; found by Forrest on the Shweli-Salween divide and introduced by him in 1912; later sendings are from farther north on the E. Irrawaddy-Salween divide and the Tali range. R. callimorphum is a very pretty species of neat habit. It is variable in flowering-time, which is mid- to late May or even early June in some forms. It is hardy at Kew when given a sheltered place and some shade.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

var. myiagrum (Balf. f. & Forr.) Chamberlain R. myiagrum Balf.f. & Forr. – This differs from typical R. callimorphum only in its white flowers. Stalked glands on the pedicels are also a feature of typical R. callimorphum.

var. callimorphum

Flowers pink.

Awards AM 1980 (Crown Estate Commissioners, Windsor) to a clone ‘Second Attempt’; trusses loosely held, of 4–5 flowers, corolla white with a large dorsal blotch of greyed-purple within, lobes and reverse flushed and rayed with shades of red-purple.

var. myiagrum (Balf.f. & Forrest) D.F.Chamb.

R. myiagrum Balf.f. & Forrest

Flowers white. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).

This differs from R. callimorphum in its flowers being white; they are bell-shaped and 1{1/4} to 1{1/2} in. wide. Leaves nearly orbicular, 1 to 2 in. long. The specific name, meaning ‘fly-catcher’, applies to the flower-stalks, which are furnished with such viscid glands that small flies are caught thereon in great numbers. Forrest’s specimens, collected wild in W. Yunnan, are covered with them. Introduced in 1919. Flowers in May and June. It has a restricted distribution near the borders between N.W. Yunnan and Burma and is really no more than a white-flowered form of R. callimorphum.