Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron ericoides' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub erect or prostrate, to 1.5 m, rarely to 3 m, terrestrial; young stems scaly and sometimes minutely hairy, distinctly rough with raised leaf scars for some distance below the leaves. Leaves 0.4-0.8 x 0.08-0.16 cm, linear or very narrowly elliptic, the apex acute, with the extreme point rounded, margin not revolute, entire or somewhat indented with irregular crenulations, the base tapering; upper surface smooth with a few minute scales which quickly disappear, midrib faint, minutely impressed near the base, no lateral veins visible; lower surface paler than the upper, with a trace of the midrib only, with well spaced small disc-shaped scales with indistinct centres. Flowers 1-4 per umbel, hanging diagonally to vertically downwards; calyx of 5 well developed lobes each 2-3 mm long; corolla red, cylindrical 13-15 x 10-12 mm, finely scaly on the tube and lobes; stamens 10, on the lower side of the mouth of the flower; ovary densely scaly, style glabrous. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Malaysia Sabah - Mt Kinabalu only
Habitat 2,700-4,000 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
This, the most alpine species on Kinabalu is a real plantsman’s challenge, various introductions have grown and flowered in cultivation but it seems prone to soil borne diseases and does not persist well. It is well named with its narrow foliage looking very ericoid. The consistently long calyx lobes will distinguish it from other species which may approach it in general appearance. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)