Kindly sponsored by
Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998
New article for Trees and Shrubs Online.
'Rhododendron suaveolens' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub to 3 m, terrestrial or epiphytic; young stems smooth with only very inconspicuous scales. Leaves 6-10 x 3.5-7 cm, elliptic, the apex rounded or sometimes broadly pointed, margin flat with a translucent edge, base cordate to rounded; upper surface green with inconspicuous scales, the midrib weakly channelled for most of its length otherwise smooth, with a red pigmented triangular area at the base, the 5-7 pairs of lateral veins rather indistinct; the lower surface with the midrib weakly raised in the lower third, all other veins obscure, scales minute, widely spaced, brown and deeply lobed. Flowers 14-20 per umbel, erect to horizontal in disposition; calyx circular with a red edge; corolla white or pink (forma roseum) often but not always sweetly scented, trumpet-shaped, 4.5-5.5 x 1.5-2.5 cm glabrous outside; stamens 10, clustered in the mouth; ovary densely covered in silvery scales and erect white hairs, style with scattered scales at the base and white hairs in approximately the basal half. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Malaysia Sabah, Kinabalu and the Crocker Range south to Mt Lotung
Habitat 1,200-1,700 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
This very attractive species although described by Professor Sleumer was later reduced by him to synonymy with R. orbiculatum. David Hunt at Kew clearly established their distinctness, this species having leaves about twice as long as wide and much narrower flowers. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)