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 tanastylum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
Shrub or small tree, 1-4(-10) m. Leaves coriaceous, 7.5-15 x 3-5 cm, elliptic to oblanceolate, apex acuminate, lower surface glabrous or with a thin veil of indumentum, also with persistent red punctate hair bases overlying the veins. Flowers 4-8, in a lax truss, deep pink to deep crimson, with black nectar pouches and few to many flecks, tubular-campanulate, 45-55 mm; ovary glabrous to rufous-tomentose and glandular, style glabrous. Flowering April-May. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Distribution Myanmar NE China W Yunnan India Arunachal Pradesh
Habitat 1,850-3,350 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H3
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
An evergreen shrub varying from 8 to 20 ft high in the wild; young shoots soon becoming glabrous. Leaves elliptic-lanceolate or oblanceolate, tapered about equally towards both ends but terminated by a short slender point, 3 to 51⁄2 in. long, 1 to 13⁄4 in, wide, glabrous and green on both surfaces; stalk 1⁄2 to 5⁄8 in. long. Flowers borne during May in a racemose cluster of about eight; pedicels about 3⁄8 in. long. Calyx a mere wavy rim. Corolla tubular-campanulate, 2 in. long, 11⁄2 in. wide, deep crimson with darker spots, five-lobed, the lobes notched. Stamens ten, glabrous or slightly downy at the base; ovary and style glabrous, the latter much longer than the stamens and standing out well beyond the corolla. (s. and ss. Irroratum)
Native of the Yunnan-Burma borderland westward through upper Burma to the Mishmi Hills, Assam, and the region of the Tsangpo gorge; also of Thailand; discovered by Kingdon Ward above Hpimaw, upper Burma, and introduced by Farrer and Cox five years later from the same locality, where it grows at about 8,000 ft. In the typical form the flowers are crimson or crimson-scarlet, but other colours have been recorded by Kingdon Ward and Forrest in their field notes, e.g., ‘black crimson’, ‘light or dark amethyst purple’, or ‘morose purple’. It is found at altitudes between 6,000 and 11,ooo ft and is tender in some forms. It is not of much ornamental value, even the crimson forms having a hint of magenta in their colouring.
R. kendrickii – This species is now better known, thanks to recent gatherings in Bhutan. R. ramsdenianum, mentioned under it on page 782, is accepted by Dr Chamberlain as a distinct species, closely allied to R. kendrickii. It differs from it, however, only in its relatively broader leaves, and may be conspecific.
R. pennivenium Balf.f. & Forrest
Leaves with a persistent indumentum beneath; pedicels glandular. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
Both varieties have been reported as being in cultivation though neither is at all common. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
R. cerochitum Balf.f. & Forrest
R. ombrochares Balf.f. & Kingdon-Ward
Leaves at maturity more or less glabrous beneath; pedicels eglandular. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)