Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron laetum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub to 3 m, terrestrial; young stems laxly scaly. Leaves 7-10 x 3-6 cm, broadly elliptic to obovate, the apex mostly shortly acuminate to an acute point, sometimes obtuse and mucronate, the margin flat and entire, the base broadly tapering; upper surface at first brown-scaly, the scales quickly becoming silvery and obscure or the surface becoming glabrescent, midrib slightly raised in the basal half and grooved, then smooth, lateral veins 5-8 pairs, slightly raised; lower surface with the midrib raised for most of its length, the laterals smooth, often obscure, the scales pale brown, lobed to substellate, well scattered and slightly impressed. Flowers 5-9 per umbel, semi-erect to horizontal, calyx a scaly and shortly hairy 5-lobed disc; corolla yellow or yellow suffused with red or orange, often fragrant, funnel-shaped, sometimes with a few hairs at the base outside and laxly stellate-scaly, 6-7 x 4.5-6 cm; stamens 10, rather irregularly arranged in the mouth of the flower; ovary densely white-hairy and inconspicuously scaly, style hairy to just over half way, glabrous in the upper part. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Indonesia Irian Jaya, Arfak Mts
Habitat 1,800-2,300 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
A lovely and well established species closely related to R. zoelleri. It differs in the shortly petiolate leaves, the petioles rarely more than 7 mm, the flowers generally opening yellow, even when they change with age and the anthers being short, up to 5 mm long, while in R. zoelleri the petioles are usually more than 7 mm, the flowers orange at the lobes from the beginning, and anthers usually more than 5 mm long. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)