Rhododendron arboreum Sm. var. venustum
See Rhododendron arboreum Sm. for details. I have no specific description of venustum which may be merely a synonym for R. arboreum. See Notes for further explanation.
Horticultural & Botanical History
History at Camden Park
Included among desiderata in a letter to Loddiges’ Nursery on 16th April 1846 but not recorded as grown. [MP A2933-2, p.28].
This identification is doubtful. Wilson & Rehder relate Rhododendron venustum Salisb. to both Rhododendron nudiflorum Torr. [p.135] and Rhododendron viscosum Torr. [p.154], both North American species. This is at least partially explained in the Journal of the American Rhododendron Society in an article entitled ‘A Question about the names of R. nudiflorum and R. roseum’ by Lloyd H. Shinners, first published in? 1962. ‘In Rehder's account the name R. venustum Salisb., Prodr. p. 287, 1796, is listed as synonym of R. nudiflorum "in part." This was published by Salisbury as a new name for both Azalea nudiflora and A. viscosa of Linnaeus, which he did not consider distinct. R. venustum is of course illegitimate since an available earlier epithet was give in synonymy but not adopted. In Index Kewensis Salisbury's name is stated to be a synonym of the Asiatic R. arboreum, which interpretation I can only explain by assuming that Salisbury in reality saw plants of two forms of R. arboreum misidentified as Azalea nudiflora and A. viscosa, and that the editors of Index Kewensis knew of this. As published, however, R. venustum was explicitly a nomen novum for the two Linnaean species from America, and being illegitimate, cannot be adopted so long as a legitimate epithet is available.’
Published Jun 18, 2009 - 03:42 PM | Last updated Sep 06, 2011 - 05:27 PM