Rhododendron hirtipes Tagg

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Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998


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

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron hirtipes' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-hirtipes/). Accessed 2024-06-17.


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.
Immature shoot protected by scales that develops into leaves and/or flowers.
Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Bearing glands.
Flower-bearing part of a plant; arrangement of flowers on the floral axis.
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Leaf stalk.
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 hirtipes' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-hirtipes/). Accessed 2024-06-17.

Low shrub or tree, 0.5–8 m; young shoots and petioles covered with glandular bristles. Leaves 5–11 × 3.5–6 cm, broadly obovate, lower surface with scattered stalked glands and a sparse floccose indumentum. Flowers 3–5, in a lax truss; calyx 4–10mm; corolla white to pink, usually with a few purple flecks, campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, c.40 mm; ovary and style base densely stalked-glandular. Flowering April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

Distribution  China SE Tibet

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Awards AM 1965 (A.C. & J.F.A. Gibson, Glenarn, Dunbartonshire) to a clone 'Ita'; flowers Phlox Pink, stained and striped.

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

Taxonomic note A distinctive species, more closely allied to R. selense subsp. dasycladum than to R. glischrum, with which it has been traditionally allied. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

An evergreen shrub or small tree up to 20 ft high but 5 ft high or less in exposed situations; young shoots glandular-bristly. Leaves oblong-elliptic or broad-elliptic, rounded at both ends, 214 to 5 in. long, 134 to 3 in. wide, margins bristly at first, glabrous above when mature except for scattered hairs and glands on the midrib, undersurface at first covered with bladder-like (vesicular) hairs which later collapse and become dry, resinous dots; petiole glandular-hairy, 38 to 34 in. long. Flowers three to five in a terminal umbellate inflorescence, opening in April; pedicels 38 in. long, glandular-bristly. Calyx up to 12 in. long, usually tinged with red. Corolla broadly funnel-campanulate, five-lobed, red in the bud, opening rose-pink to almost white, banded with pink on the outside and speckled crimson inside, about 2 in. long, 212 in. wide. Ovary conoid, glandular; style glandular at the base. (s. Barbatum ss. Glischrum)

R. hirtipes was discovered by Kingdon Ward in 1924 near Tsela Dzong, in S.E. Tibet, in the valley of the Tsangpo, and was introduced by him (KW 5659). It ‘grew some 20 ft high and had large rounded leaves and loose trusses of three or four big bell-shaped flowers of the most delicate shell pink and ivory white, arranged in alternating broad bands. It was, I think, the most bewitching Rhododendron we saw’ (Riddle of Tsangpo Gorges, p. 45; Gard. Chron., Vol. 87 (1930), p. 330). It was later reintroduced by Ludlow, Sherriff, and Taylor from the same area. It is not common in cultivation but judging from the plant in the Valley Gardens, Windsor Great Park, raised from the original introduction, it is quite as beautiful as its discoverer had promised, though some plants are said to be of little worth. Another fine form was raised by A. C. and J. F. A. Gibson, Glenarn, Rhu, Dunbartonshire, from Ludlow, Sherriff, and Taylor 3624. This received an Award of Merit on April 13, 1965 (clone ‘Ita’).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

This has been transferred by Dr Chamberlain to subsect. Selensia.