Freitag, 25. Mai 2012

Plant of the Day (May 25th, 2012) -Rhododendron forrestii var. repens (I. B. Balfour & Forrest) Cowan & Davidian

Today's “Plant of the Day” is another Rhododendron from the Ericaceae family. This time, I want to show you Rhododendron forrestii var. repens (I. B. Balfour & Forrest) Cowan & Davidian In Germany, the plant is known as “Zwerg-Rhododendron” (Dwarf-Rhododendron). Unfortunately, I didn't found an English name for the wild form (the literally translation of the scientific name would be “Forrester Rhododendron”) but in Chinese, this plant is called 紫背杜鹃.

R. forrestii var. repens - habitus

It's a small, evergreen shrub, which can reach a maximum height between 20 and 90 centimetres (7.9 to 30.4 inches). The small leaves are dark-green and have a leathery, textured surface. Their petiole is nearly 10 millimetres long and the leaf-blade has an elliptical shape. There are also some leaf-glands.

R. forrestii var. repens - habitus

The inflorescences are umbel-shaped racemes with a glandular petiole. The flowers have a tubular form with conspicuous, crimson-red petals. The sepals are green and form a fleshy, saucer-like structure. Flowering time is in May. The ripe fruits are inconspicuous, cylindrical capsules.

R. forrestii var. repens - habitus

R. forrestii is native to China and Tibet. The plant is very undemanding towards the growing conditions and grows on rocky slopes and pastures. However, because of the very beautiful, red flowers, the species has become a very popular ornamental plant for gardens and parks (as with the most Rhododendrons). In the Twenties of the 20th century, the German Botanist Dietrich Hobbie began with the breeding of new sorts from the wild forms of the Genus Rhododendron. He created also new sorts of R. forrestii var. repens., which were exported all over the world. The most popular sorts today are “Baden-Baden” (named after a German town), “Scarlett Wonder”, “Frühlingszauber” (German for “Magic of Spring”) and “Bengal”.

Please note: All pictures were taken by Christopher Schwerdt. I have his permission to use these pictures in my blog.

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