Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron malayanum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Epiphytic or terrestrial shrub to 2 m, young stems densely dark brown, scaly. Leaves 8.5-15 x 3.5-5.5 cm, elliptic or broadly elliptic, the apex acute, often acuminate, sometimes shortly and broadly pointed, the edge entire and flat except near the base it may be somewhat revolute, the base broadly or narrowly tapering; the upper surface densely scaly but becoming glabrescent, the midrib slightly impressed, lateral veins up to 8 pairs, slightly impressed; underneath the midrib strongly raised, the laterals raised near the midrib, completely and persistently scaly with variable scales, the largest of which have swollen dark centres. Flowers terminal or lateral in 1-5 flowered umbels, the flowers hanging vertically downwards; calyx a low densely scaly ring; corolla reddish purple, purplish pink or greenish white, cylindrical, the tube often compressed laterally 2.5-3 x 1.4-2.4 cm, laxly scaly on the tube outside; stamens 10, irregularly grouped on the lower side of the mouth; ovary densely covered in brown scales, style scaly at the base otherwise glabrous. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Indonesia Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi & Seram Malaysia Peninsula, Sarawak, and Sabah Thailand
Habitat 200-3,000 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
A widespread and variable species that has been in cultivation since Victorian times, the best forms are the higher altitude ones with smaller leaves and darker coloured flowers, lowland forms are difficult to cultivate and much less attractive. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)