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 flavidum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Erect shrub, to 2.5 m. Leaves 0.7-1.5 x 0.3-0.7 cm, broadly elliptic to oblong, apex rounded, shortly mucronate, lower surface with brown to dark brown scales that are 0.5-2× their own diameter apart. Flowers 1-3 per inflorescence; calyx 2-4(-7) mm, lobes strap-shaped or deltoid; corolla yellow, broadly funnel-shaped, pubescent outside and inside, scaly outside, 12-18 mm; stamens 8-10, as long as corolla; ovary scaly, style longer than stamens, pubescent towards the base. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China NW Sichuan
Habitat 3,000-4,000 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
An evergreen shrub about 2 ft high, of rounded, bushy habit, branches densely scaly. Leaves leathery, ovate-oblong, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide; rounded at the base, dark green above, paler beneath, scaly on both surfaces; stalk 1⁄6 in. long. Flowers 1 to 11⁄4 in. across, primrose-yellow, becoming paler with age, produced during April in a terminal cluster of three to six. Corolla with a very short, rather downy tube, and flat, spreading, rounded lobes, wavy at the margins. Calyx pale green, the five lobes oblong, 1⁄4 in. long, covered like the flower-stalk (which is 1⁄8 in. long) with transparent yellowish scales. Bot. Mag., t. 8326. (s. Lapponicum)
Native of W. Szechwan, China; introduced to cultivation by Wilson for Messrs Veitch in 1905. This delightful little species is very distinct through the clear pale yellow of its flowers, and is a valuable acquisition for the rock garden or some place where dainty little plants can grow without danger of being overrun by stronger neighbours. The leaves when crushed have a pleasant, aromatic odour.
The plant known in gardens as R. flavidum album is very distinct in its taller growth, larger leaves and larger, white flowers. Probably a hybrid. In cultivation by 1925.
R. psilostylum, given as a synonym, is recognised as a variety – var. psilostylum Rehd. & Wils. (R. psilostylum (Rehd. & Wils.) Balf.f.). It is known from a single collection and is not in cultivation.
Differs from var. flavidum in having leaf scales of two kinds, some dark, the rest golden, is probably not in cultivation.