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 erosum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Large shrub or small tree, 3.5–6.5 m; bark smooth and flaking, reddish brown; young shoots and petioles with long stiff bristles. Leaves 8–12.5 × 3.5–6.5 cm, broadly elliptic to oblong, apex rounded, apiculate, base cordate, upper surface with strongly impressed veins, lower surface with a floccose dendroid indumentum. Flowers fleshy, 10–15, in a tight truss, crimson to blood-red, with darker nectar pouches, tubular-campanulate, 30–35 mm; ovary densely stalked-glandular, style glabrous. Flowering March-April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).
Distribution China SE Tibet
Habitat 3,000–3,800 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
Taxonomic note R. erosum is the most easterly of a complex of three closely allied species, also including R. barbatum and R. argipeplum. Some cultivated plants of this species have been called R. argipeplum, but it may be distinguished from that species by the relatively broader (1.5–2× as long as broad) and more rounded leaves. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
An evergreen shrub or small tree, up to 30 ft high; branchlets slender, clad with stalked glands; bud-scales deciduous. Leaves leathery, oval, oblong-oval, obovate, obtuse to broadly rounded at the apex, rounded to subcordate at the base, up to 61⁄2 in. long and 33⁄4 in. wide, clad beneath with a woolly greyish or light brown indumentum which gradually wears away; petiole glandular-bristly, up to 3⁄4 in. long. Inflorescence a terminal umbel of twelve to fifteen flowers, opening in March or April; pedicels about 3⁄8 in. long, glandular. Calyx cup-shaped, pink, with short, irregular, gland-fringed lobes. Corolla five-lobed, funnel-campanulate, deep crimson or deep rosy pink, about 11⁄2 in. wide. Ovary densely covered with stalked glands; style glabrous. (s. Barbatum ss. Glischrum)
A native of the eastern Himalaya, found by Ludlow and Sherriff in 1936 on the Tibetan side of the range (Chayul and Tsari) at 10,000 to 12,000 ft, and introduced by them. Although not so fine in flower as R. barbatum, which it somewhat resembles, it has striking foliage.