Rhododendron fulvum Balf. f. & W. W. Sm.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron fulvum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-fulvum/). Accessed 2024-06-19.



  • Rhododendron fulvoides Balf. f.

Other taxa in genus


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
Traditional English name for the formerly independent state known to its people as Bod now the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The name Xizang is used in lists of Chinese provinces.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
Division of a leaf or other object. lobed Bearing lobes.
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Short straight point. mucronate Bearing a mucro.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron fulvum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-fulvum/). Accessed 2024-06-19.

Shrub or small tree, 2–8 mm. Leaves 8–22 × 3.6–8 cm, oblanceolate to elliptic, lower surface covered with a two-layered indumentum, the upper layer reddish brown to fulvous, largely composed of capitellate hairs, giving the surface a granular appearance. Flowers 10–20, in a dense truss, white to pink, with a basal blotch, with or without purple flecks, campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, 25–45 mm; ovary glabrous. Flowering March-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

Distribution  Myanmar NE China SE Tibet, W Yunnan, SW Sichuan

Habitat 3,000–4,000 m

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

An evergreen shrub or small tree 9 to 20 ft high; young shoots covered with a brownish-yellow felt, some of which remains till the following year. Leaves stout and leathery, oblong to oval, abruptly narrowed to a mucro at the apex, tapered to slightly heart-shaped at the base, 4 to 8 in. long, 112 to 3 in. wide, very dark green and glabrous above, clothed beneath with a richly cinnamon-coloured, red-brown, or fawn-coloured felt; midrib prominent, ultimately naked and pale. Flowers produced in March and April, up to twenty in a globose truss 4 in. wide. Calyx small, glabrous; flower-stalk 12 to 34 in. long. Corolla white to pale or bright rose with a fine crimson blotch at the base, bell-shaped, 112 in. long, five- or six-lobed, each lobe 35 in. long and nearly 1 in. wide. Stamens ten, very minutely downy at the base; anthers dark brown. Ovary and style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 9587. (s. Fulvum)

R. fulvum is a species of wide range, from the Muli area of S.W. Szechwan, through N.W. Yunnan, the Yunnan-Burma borderland, and S.E. Tibet as far as the eastern Himalaya, where Ludlow and Sherriff collected it in the Tibetan province of Chayul; it occurs mostly at 10,000 to 12,000 ft. Forrest discovered it in 1912 on the Shweli-Salween divide and sent home seeds many times from that year onwards. It is quite hardy. The flowers, without being more than ordinary, are attractive enough; the most striking character of the plant is the felt­like covering of the undersurface of the leaf. In Forrest’s 8989, his original importation, this is a rich brown-red, but it is sometimes pale fawn or bright cinnamon. There is also variation in the upper surface of the leaf. In some forms, e.g., F.25076, it is smooth and the margins are slightly recurved. In others, less striking, the surface is flat and the lateral veins are impressed.

A pink-flowered form received an Award of Merit when shown from Bodnant on April 4, 1933.

subsp. fulvoides (Balf.f. & Forrest) D.F. Chamb.

R. fulvoides Balf.f. & Forrest

Leaves (2.5–)2.8–3× as long as broad, indumentum fulvous to brown.

Distribution NE Burma, China (SE Tibet, NW Yunnan, SW Sichuan).

Habitat 3,350–4,000m.

Awards AGM 1993

The two subspecies apparently intergrade though there is at least partial geographical separation between them.

subsp. fulvum

Leaves 1.8–2.5× as long as broad, indumentum rich reddish brown.

Distribution NE Burma, China (W Yunnan).

Habitat 3,000–3,700m.

Awards AM 1933 (Hon. R.H. McLaren, Bodnant); flowers pink, with a crimson blotch. FCC 1981 (R.N.S. Clarke, Borde Hill); trusses tight, rounded, up to 20-flowered, inner corolla rich creamy white, suffused towards the rim with shades of red-purple, and with a red-purple blotch deep in throat, reverse white to red-purple, veined with a darker red-purple.

'Windlesham White'

A selection made by Harry White of Sunningdale Nurseries, from whence plants were taken to Castle Howard by Jim Russell and planted in Ray Wood in the 1970s. It has not been registered and nothing further is known of its origins. Recently grafted plants are thriving at the Yorkshire Arboretum.