Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron searleanum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub to 4 m, terrestrial, young stems densely scaly at first. Leaves 8-11 x 5-8 cm, broadly elliptic, the apex obtusely pointed to rounded, the margin entire, flat or slightly revolute, the base broadly tapering to rounded; upper surface finely scaly at first, quickly glabrescent, the midrib raised for about half its length and grooved, laterals 5-6 pairs very slightly raised or smooth, the largest of them grooved; underside with the midrib raised for most of its length; the laterals slightly raised, the scales well spaced almost circular, quite variable in size with small centres and impressed. Flowers 11-16 per umbel, more or less horizontally disposed; calyx a low slightly scaly ring; corolla pale pink, slightly darker at the mouth, beautifully and powerfully scented, trumpet-shaped with a straight tube, 10-12.5 x 4.5-6 cm, laxly scaly outside; stamens 10, rather loosely clustered on the lower side of the mouth; ovary densely scaly and with yellowish hairs, style densely hairy and scaly at the base, gradually becoming less so until the ultimate 1.5 cm is glabrous. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Papua New Guinea Eastern Highlands Province near Gumine, also reported from Mt Digini in the Kubor Range
Habitat 2,100-2,200 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
A magnificent species which is very poorly known in the wild but well known in cultivation since its original and only introduction by Mr L.K. Searle in 1973. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)