Rhododendron javanicum Benn.
A neat shrub or small tree with oblong, dark green, laurel-like leaves and large, compact heads of fleshy, funnel-shaped, rich lemon-coloured to orange, flowers, darker in the centre, approaching to crimson, in winter. To 3m. [RHSD, Hortus, Millais].
Horticultural & Botanical History
Collected by Thomas Lobb, Rhododendron javanicum first flowered in England by Veitch and Sons, Exeter, in the summer of 1847. ‘On communicating this splendid plant to me for figuring in the Botanical Magazine, Messrs. Veitch and Sons, its possessors, remark that “it is certainly one of the finest things ever introduced to our gardens”. And in this opinion we think all will agree who see the present representation, and more especially those who have the privilege of beholding, as we do now, the plant itself with its beautiful glossy, bright green foliage and orange-coloured flowers (twelve on a bunch), here and there marked with red spots, and again spotted, as it were, with the dark black-purple coloured anthers. […] Blume discovered it on the mountain Salak; Dr. Horsfeld, “on the volcanic range extending through Java, at an elevation of 4,000 feet above the level of the sea.” Hence we are not surprised to learn from Mr. Veitch that it succeeds well under the mere shelter of a Greenhouse, where, that able cultivator thinks, it may probably be brought to blossom all the year round.’ [BM t. 4336/1847]. It proved to be something of a sensation, The Gardeners Chronicle reporting: ‘This fine rhododendron is now in flower at Killion, near Truro. One spike has 15 flowers on it, of a beautiful bright orange’. [Gard. Chron. 1851]. FS pl.I & II 12e Liv./1847.
History at Camden Park
Listed only in the 1850 catalogue and underlined in a copy of the catalogue held at the Mitchell Library. [ML635.9m]. Obtained from Veitch’s Nursery. Brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in 1849. [ML A1980-3]. Believed by Macarthur to be a new introduction at that time.
Published Jun 18, 2009 - 05:13 PM | Last updated Jul 18, 2010 - 11:34 AM