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 pachytrichum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub or small tree, 1-6 m; young shoots and petioles tomentose or stalked-glandular. Leaves 9-15 x 2-4.2 cm, elliptic to obovate, apex more or less cuspidate, lower surface with lamina glabrous though with short folioliferous hairs on or near the midrib. Flowers 7-10, in a lax truss; calyx c. 1.5 mm; corolla white suffused pink to pink, with a purple blotch and flecks, narrowly campanulate, lacking nectar pouches, 35-50 mm; ovary densely tomentose or stalked-glandular, style glabrous or glandular at base. Flowering March-April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution China NE Yunnan, SW Sichuan
Habitat 2,500-3,600 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
An evergreen shrub or small tree up to 20 ft high; young shoots conspicuously furnished with a dense coat of brown curly bristles 1⁄8 in. long. Leaves 3 to 6 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, narrowly oblong or inclined to obovate, abruptly narrowed at the apex to a short fine point, rounded at the base, dark green and soon glabrous above, bristly on the margins at first, and on the midrib beneath; stalk 1⁄3 to 1 in. long, with the same mossy character as the young shoot. Flowers opening in April, borne in compact trusses of up to ten on shaggy stalks about 5⁄8 in. long. Calyx minute, glabrous or sparsely hairy. Corolla white or pale rose, with a dark blotch at the base, 11⁄2 in. wide, scarcely so deep, bell-shaped, five-lobed. Stamens ten, shorter than the corolla, downy at the base. Ovary densely hairy; style glabrous. (s. Barbatum ss. Maculiferum)
Native of W. Szechwan, where according to Wilson it is one of the commonest and most widely dispersed species and occurs up to an altitude of 11,ooo ft. It was discovered by the Abbé Soulié and introduced by Wilson in 1903 for Messrs Veitch. It is a perfectly hardy species, but rather too early-flowering for most gardens and anyway only worth planting in selected colour-forms as the flowers often have a magenta tint. The Award of Merit was given in 1963 to the clone ‘Sesame’, with rosy-pink flowers, when exhibited by Lord Aberconway and the National Trust, Bodnant, on April 18.
Dr Chamberlain remarks that the characters used by Dr Hutchinson to distinguish R. monosematum from R. pachytrichum are those which are accepted as part of the normal variation of the related R. strigillosum; and that, furthermore, some plants raised from the batch of seeds that produced R. monosematum are R. pachytrichum sens. strict.
R. pachytrichum was reintroduced by Keith Rushforth from Mount Omei (Emei Shan) in 1980 (KR 198).
R. monosematum Hutch.
Petioles, pedicels, calyx and ovary stalked-glandular. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Var. monosematum is only known for certain from Emei Shan in W Sichuan, and has apparently arisen as a stabilized back-cross from the hybrid swarms of var. pachytrichum and R. strigillosum that occur close by. It was originally described from cultivated material that resembled var. pachytrichum. It is therefore more appropriate to treat it as a variety of R. pachytrichum rather than of R. strigillosum as do some Chinese authors. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Petioles, pedicels, calyx and ovary tomentose, eglandular.
Awards AM 1963 (Lord Aberconway and National Trust, Bodnant) to a clone ‘Sesame’; flowers white, tinged purple.