Rhododendron of the Month

 

Rhododendron saluenense

R. saluenense was discovered by Abbé Soulié in 1894 at Dong in the Upper Mekong and later in June 1895 at Sela in the Mekong-Salween Divide in eastern Xizang (Tibet). R. saluenense has also been found by other explorers in SE Xizang, NW Yunnan and SW Sichuan. Its name indicates that it is from the Salween River area.

It was first introduced by George Forrest in 1914 (no. 12934) and subsequently by other plant explorers Frank Kingdon-Ward, Joseph F. Rock and T.T. Yu.

This species can be found growing in forest margins to stony hillsides, in boggy moorland meadows and alongside streams at elevations of 3,400 – 4,300 m (10 – 14, 000 ft).

R. saluenense is a variable plant – broadly upright or spreading or even prostrate – as R. prostratum has been merged with R. saluenense. This species is closely allied to R. calostrotum. R. saluenense is a small plant – leaves range from 0.8 – 3.6 cm in length and its flowers are 1.7 – 3.1 cm long. The corolla is widely funnel-shaped, magenta to purple to reddish-purple and appears in an inflorescence of 1 – 3.

Images by Steve Hootman
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