Rhododendron uvariifolium Diels

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Peter Norris, enabling the use of The Rhododendron Handbook 1998


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron uvariifolium' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-uvariifolium/). Accessed 2024-06-17.



  • Rhododendron niphargum Balf. f. & Ward
  • Rhododendron dendritrichum Balf. f. & Forr.
  • Rhododendron monbeigii Rehd. & Wils.

Other taxa in genus


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
A covering of hairs or scales.
Inversely lanceolate; broadest towards apex.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.
Dense layer of soft hairs. tomentose With tomentum.
(var.) Taxonomic rank (varietas) grouping variants of a species with relatively minor differentiation in a few characters but occurring as recognisable populations. Often loosely used for rare minor variants more usefully ranked as forms.


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron uvariifolium' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-uvariifolium/). Accessed 2024-06-17.

Large shrub or small tree, 2–10 m. Leaves 8–22 × 3.3–6.5 cm, oblanceolate to oblong, lower surface with a 1–2 layered silvery indumentum, the upper layer (when present) composed of more or less floccose dendroid hairs, the lower layer compacted. Flowers 6–30, in a dense truss, white to pale pink, with crimson flecks and a purple basal blotch, campanulate, nectar pouches lacking, 30–35 mm; ovary glabrous. Flowering March-April. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).

Distribution  China S Tibet, NW Yunnan, SW Sichuan

Habitat (2,100)-3,000–4,000 m

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

An evergreen shrub 15 to 25 ft high; young shoots stout and as much as 38 in. thick, grey-downy. Leaves stout and leathery, obovate or oblanceolate, blunt or almost rounded at the apex, long-tapered at the base; 3 to 10 in. long, 112 to 234 in. wide, dark green and soon glabrous above, covered beneath with a close white, grey, or fawn felt; stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Flowers in a compact rounded truss of ten to fifteen, opening in spring. Calyx very small. Corolla bell-shaped, five-lobed, 112 in. long, rosy white to pale rose, with a crimson blotch at the base and similarly coloured spots on the upper side. Stamens ten, minutely downy at the base, white with dark brown anthers, ovary slender, glabrous or with a little down, tapered at the top to the glabrous style. Bot. Mag., t. 9480. (s. Fulvum)

R. uvariifolium is a species of wide range, from the Yungning area, on the borders between N.W. Yunnan and Szechwan westward to the region of the Tsangpo bend at the eastern end of the Himalaya, at altitudes of 7,000 to 13,000 ft. It was discovered by Forrest in 1904 on the ascent from the Yangtse to the Chungtien plateau and introduced by him in 1913. It is closely allied to R. fulvum, which has a less woolly brown or yellow tomentum.

The Award of Merit was given on April 13, 1965, to the clone ‘Yangtse Bend’, exhibited by the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

It was mentioned that R. uvariifolium extends to the region of the Tsangpo Bend at the eastern end of the Himalaya. Some collections by Ludlow, Sherriff and Elliot from this area were described by Dr Cowan as var. griseum, differing in the closely matted leaf-indumentum and the rounded leaf-bases. This variety is not recognised in the Edinburgh revision, but plants agreeing with it could be distinguished as the Griseum group (Rev. 2, p. 368; Cox, The Larger Species of Rhododendron, p. 182).

Kingdon Ward 6311, identified as ‘R. coryanum var.’ in the R.H.S. Handbook, is R. uvariifolium.

var. griseum Cowan

Leaf base rounded, indumentum compacted.

These two varieties are poorly delineated from one another though there is some correlation between the morphological differences and the geographical distributions of the two taxa.

var. uvariifolium

Leaves oblanceolate, cuneate at base, indumentum floccose.

Awards AM 1965 (Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh) to a clone ‘Yangtze Bend’; flowers rose-pink, spotted and blotched Indian Lake. AM 1976 (Royal Botanic Gardens, Wakehurst) to a clone ‘Reginald Childs’; flowers white, suffused red-purple and with a red blotch.