Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron phaeochitum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub to 2.5 m, epiphytic, young stems densely covered in dark brown stellate-dendroid scales. Leaves 4-9 x 2.5-4.5 cm, elliptic to sub-obovate, the apex obtusely pointed to rounded occasionally mucronate, the margin slightly reflexed, the base broadly tapering to rounded; upper surface light brown- to silvery scaly but very quickly glabrescent, the midrib slender and slightly impressed, lateral veins 3-7 pairs very slightly impressed; lower surface with the midrib very strongly raised, the laterals slightly raised, the scales dense to rather sparse, dendroid, and very unevenly sized each from a small epidermal tubercle. Flowers 2-5(-ll) per umbel, more or less half hanging; calyx a low densely scaly ring; corolla usually pink, sometimes red or cream, somewhat curved-cylindrical, 4.5-5.5 x 3-4 cm, densely brown-scaly outside; stamens 10, grouped on the upper side of the corolla mouth; ovary densely covered in brown, stellate-dendroid scales, the style scaly to nearly the top. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Papua New Guinea widespread on the main ranges
Habitat 2,100-2,600 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
This variable species grows well in cultivation, the form with cream flowers looks most exciting, owing to the strong contrast with the dense rusty brown scales. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)