Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron saxifragoides' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Dense cushion forming shrub to 0.25 m, terrestrial; young stems with a few scales. Leaves 1.6-5.5 x 0.5-1 cm, linear-lanceolate or oblanceolate, the apex acute to obtuse, often shortly acuminate or apiculate, the margin flat or revolute, the base narrowly tapering; upper surface with the midrib impressed above, laterals 2-3 pairs, slightly impressed, often obscure, with a few sparse scales at first, quickly glabrescent; lower surface with the midrib slightly raised, laterals mostly obscure, scales small, well spaced, deeply or shallowly lobed and slightly impressed. Flowers mostly solitary, occasionally in pairs, semi-erect to half-hanging (the ovaries becoming erect after the corollas wither); calyx a low wavy disc often fringed with hairs; corolla red to pink, tubular-cylindrical, somewhat curved and expanded near the mouth, 2.5-3 x 1.5-2.5 cm, scaly on the tube outside; stamens 10, clustered on the upper side of the mouth; ovary hairy and obscurely scaly, style hairy at the base, glabrous above. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Papua New Guinea widespread along the Main Range
Habitat 3,200-4,000 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
The dense cushion-forming habit of this species will distinguish it from all others but it is slow and difficult to cultivate although it can be found in collections in various parts of the world. Os Blumhardt working in New Zealand has produced some wonderful hybrids using this species to compact plants with a rather straggly habit and these are also now very widespread. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)