Emu Valley Newsletter – August 2019

  • Date: 10th August 2019
  • author: Maurie Kupsch

RHODODENDRON MAGNIFLORUM

In 2010 we were fortunate to receive a packet of seed of R. magniflorum NN0959, a new to cultivation rhododendron species in Subsection Fortunea. These along with other seeds were sown in July of that year and soon germinated and slowly grew into nice robust plants and by the time of potting into 150mm pots we had 15 healthy plants.

Rhododendron magniflorum was first discovered and described by Chinese botanist W.K.Hu, in 1988. It grows into small trees 4-6 m tall with oblong leaves 22-25 wide x 7.5-8.8 cm.long, both surfaces glabrous, flowers are tubular funnel-shaped, creamy white with a smudge of greenish yellow in the throat. In October of 2018 flower buds appeared on 11 of the 13 plants and in late January flowered which is quite late at Emu Valley.

The collector of these seeds Jens Nielsen wrote “Anew to cultivation introduction of what could be one of the mostinteresting and rarest Fortunea. Judging from the type description, from 1988, this could be one of the largest flowered rhododendron with flowers 10cm long in truss of 12-14 flowers and could well become threatened in its natural habitat by cutting or fire. Will probablybe a late flowering plant.” He seems to be right with the late flowering bit anyway.

We grow these plants in the Guizhou section of the garden.

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