Rhododendron 'Koichiro Wada'
Fig. 11. Dr. Serbin among his R. yakushimanum
plants at the time of a Connecticut Chapter tour
of his nursery, summer of 1968.
A letter received in August from Dr. A. F. Serbin indicated that Mr. de Rothschild had been asked if he would care to name the F.C.C. form of R. yakushimanum, the original plant of which is located at Wisley. Mr. de Rothschild apparently then requested that this F.C.C. form be named after Mr. Wada, the man who sent the first two plants of this species to the Western Hemisphere. As most A.R.S. members know, there were two plants in this shipment, one of which found its way to Wisley and an eventual F.C.C., the other remaining at Exbury.
In the 1969 Rhododendron and Camellia Yearbook, under "Additions To The International Register," we find the name 'Koichiro Wada' with the following notation. "The name now given to the F.C.C. form of yakushimanum".
We often complain about rhododendron breeders naming varieties before they have been thoroughly tested, sometimes after the first blooming. Certainly we cannot complain that this clone has been named too soon as it is probably one of the best known rhododendron plants in the world. We think it quite fitting that it be named after Mr. Wada. The only regret we have is that it was not named 'K. Wada'. This latter name would certainly be a lot more useful and easily remembered. My guess is that the variety will be known either as 'Wada' or 'K. Wada', and that few people will bother with the full name. It would seem that this might have been an occasion where the rules could have been modified to permit the use of an initial so well known to rhododendron growers throughout the world.