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 championiae' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub or small tree, to 8 m. Leaves elliptic to obovate, 7-15 x 2.5-5 cm, bristly, especially on veins below, apex acuminate. Flowers 4-6, clustered at end of a leafy shoot below the vegetative bud, pink at first, becoming white, with yellow markings, funnel-shaped, tube 12-15mm, lobes 40-45 mm; stamens 10. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China S
Habitat 500-1,300 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H3
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note Only the type variety of this species is in cultivation. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub probably some 6 or 8 ft high; young shoots clothed with stiff outstanding hairs, some of which are gland-tipped. Leaves elliptic-lanceolate, pointed, mostly wedge-shaped at the base, 3 to 5 in. long, 1 to 13⁄4 in. wide; dark green, sprinkled on both surfaces with pale bristles that are especially abundant on the midrib beneath and on the margins; stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, very bristly. Flowers as many as six in a terminal cluster, usually fewer, opening in May. Corolla pink, 31⁄2 in. wide, the base narrowly tubular and 3⁄4 in. long, separating into five oblong, bluntish lobes 11⁄2 to 2 in. long. Stamens ten, 2 in. long, downy at the lower half. Calyx-lobes five, linear, very unequal, 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. long, very bristly on the margins; flower-stalk very bristly, 3⁄4 to 1 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 4609. (s. Stamineum)
Native of Hong Kong on Mt Victoria, where it is rare; found also in the province of Fukien, China, by Dunn in 1905. It was discovered in 1849 by Lt-Col. Champion, after whose wife it was named by the elder Hooker. Although no longer there it was introduced to Kew in 1881 and flowered in the Temperate House in 1894, but was a shy bloomer. It is a quite tender shrub and I have only seen it in the open air at Caerhays.