Rhododendron venator Tagg

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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 venator' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-venator/). Accessed 2024-05-24.


Other taxa in genus


The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
Traditional English name for the formerly independent state known to its people as Bod now the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The name Xizang is used in lists of Chinese provinces.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Bearing glands.
Lance-shaped; broadest in middle tapering to point.
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Inversely lanceolate; broadest towards apex.
Leaf stalk.
The production of flowers/inflorescences prior to leaf emergence. (Cf. coetaneous serotinous.)
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.


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

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron venator' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-venator/). Accessed 2024-05-24.

Straggly shrub, 1–3 m; young shoots and petioles with an evanescent stellate tomentum intermixed with setose glands. Leaves 8.5–14 × 2–2.4 cm, elliptic to lanceolate, apex acute to acuminate, upper and lower surfaces glabrous except for a thin stellate indumentum that is intermixed with folioliferous hairs on the midrib below. Flowers 7–10, in a tight truss; calyx 3–5 mm; corolla fleshy, crimson, with darker nectar pouches, tubular-campanulate, 30–35 mm; ovary with a dense tomentum intermixed with stalked glands, style glabrous. Flowering May-June. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).

Distribution  China SE Tibet

Habitat 2,500 m

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Awards AM 1933 (Hon. H.D. McLaren, Bodnant) from Kingdon-Ward 6285; flowers reddish orange.

Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)

Taxonomic note A distinctive species with no close allies. It has a restricted distribution in the wild and is only occasionally seen in cultivation. Royal Horticultural Society (1997).

An evergreen shrub up to 10 ft high in the wild; young shoots and leaf-petioles covered with gland-tipped bristles intermixed with white floccose hairs. Leaves oblong-lanceolate to oblong-oblanceolate, tapered or abruptly narrowed to a mucronate tip, rounded or heart-shaped at the base, upper surface medium green, glabrous at maturity, underside pale green, glabrous except for scattered stellate hairs on the midrib and main veins; petiole stout, 12 to 58 in. long. Flowers borne in May or June in a compact truss of about ten; pedicels about 12 in. long, glandular-bristly and hairy. Corolla deep red, tubular-campanulate, about 112 in. long, fleshy, with five dark nectar-pouches at the base. Stamens ten. Ovary conoid, clad with branched hairs and gland-tipped bristles; style hairy at the base.

R. venator was discovered by Kingdon Ward in the Tsangpo gorge, S.E. Tibet, in November 1924. ‘In swampy places there grew a spreading untidy shrub with more or less ascending branches – one of the “Irroratum” series with blood-red flowers (KW 6285). This plant we saw henceforth almost daily, and it was especially abundant in the swamps round Pemakochung, where it took on almost the appearance of mangrove’ (Riddle of the Tsangpo Gorges, p. 201). He saw only a few precocious trusses but plants flowered in several gardens in 1933 and the species was described in the following year. It was reintroduced from the type-locality by Ludlow, Sherriff, and Elliot in 1946–7.

R. venator is of some value as a hardy red-flowered species, blossoming after the main danger of frost is past, and not taking up much room. But the habit is rather straggly. It is at present placed in the Parishii subseries of the Irroratum series, but its relationships are uncertain. Dr Cowan suggested that it was nearer to R. floccigerum in the Neriiflorum series.

R. venator received an Award of Merit when shown from Bodnant on May 23, 1933 (a form with orange-scarlet flowers).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

Now the sole member of subsect. Venatora, allied to subsections Maculifera and Irrorata.