Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron commonae' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub to 6 m (in cultivation rarely more than 0.8 m), terrestrial, the young stems with stellate scales and rough below the leaves from the raised leaf scars. Leaves 1.2-4.5 x 0.8-2 cm, elliptic to obovate-elliptic, apex obtuse to rounded, with a small thick protruding apical gland, margin cartilaginous, flat or slightly revolute and distinctly serrulate-crenulate in the upper half, base broadly tapering; the upper surface sparsely scaly at first, quickly glabrescent the scales leaving minute pits, midrib impressed above, the laterals 4-6 pairs, slightly impressed; lower surface with the midrib broadly raised in the lower half, laterals smooth or only very slightly raised, scales rather distant, silvery, rather deeply substellately lobed and impressed in small pits. Flowers 3-8 per umbel, semi-erect to half-hanging; calyx scaly, deeply 5-lobed; corolla deep red, orange-red or pale yellow, 2-4 x 1.3-2.8 cm, finely, laxly to subdensely scaly outside; stamens 10, in a rather irregular group in the mouth of the flower; ovary densely hairy and scaly, style with a few hairs near the base, otherwise glabrous. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Papua New Guinea Western, Eastern and Southern Highlands and Morobe Provinces
Habitat 2,600-4,000 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Generally growing in open ground in the wild, this is one of the hardiest of the New Guinea Vireyas in cultivation. Described by Sleumer (Flora Malesiana I \[6\] 587, 1966) as ‘stiff’, in cultivation it is often ‘floppy’ but cheerful with brightly coloured flowers in 3 distinct colour forms. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)