Rhododendron x azaleoides Desf.
Probably a Rhododendron ponticum L. x Rhododendron nudiflorum Torr. hybrid. Hardy evergreen shrub of dense habit, the leaves glaucous beneath, to 8cm long and flowers in clusters of up to 20, whitish, tinged with pale purple. To 2.4m. [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].
Horticultural & Botanical History
‘It seems rather strange that the first hybrids known to have been raised in this genus are not between species of the Azalea group, but between Azaleas and Rhododendrons. The very first hybrid which we know is one raised between Rhododednron ponticum and some form of Azalea; it originated at Thompson’s Nursery at Mile End near London before 1800 and was figured by Andrew’s in 1801 as R. ponticum var. deciduum. This is possibly the plant distributed afterwards as R. azaleoides by English nurserymen, for in 1811 and 1814 Dumont de Courset describes an identical or very similar form under that name, giving “Hort. lond.” as author citation. Similar crosses have been made afterwards during the first quarter of last century, for distinct forms of similar origin appeared in horticultural literature at that time, e.g. a cross between R. viscosum and R. maximum published by Ker in Botanical Register (t.195) in 1817 and a cross between R. viscosum and R. ponticum published by Sims in Botanical Magazine (t.2308) in 1822 [under the name Azalea hybrida enneandra - Hybrid rhododendron-like Azalea], both raised by William Herbert at Spofforth, England, and other forms of unknowm origin partly cultivated under the name R. azaleoides. Many such hybrids were raised at Coombe Wood and at Highclere.’ [Wilson & Rehder p.172].
History at Camden Park
Rhododendron azaleoides was marked with a ‘c’, indicating grown at Camden, in an 1836 Loddiges’ catalogue held at Camden Park [CPA]. Certainly grown in the gardens at this time but as it did not appear in any catalogues probably short-lived.
Published Jun 19, 2009 - 05:29 PM | Last updated Jul 18, 2010 - 11:27 AM