R. hodgsonii at the Blake Garden
Hadley Osborn, El Cerrito, California
While making a pilgrimage to the University of California Blake Garden early last spring to view their R. giganteum, my eye was struck by a marvelously appealing truss on a nearby plant. Fortunately Dr. Evans was able to dash out with me a couple of days later and take the accompanying picture. Nothing whatsoever is known about the history of this plant but it keys out readily to R. hodgsonii. The flowers are lighter and more rose than apparently is average. As with the English award clone 'Poet's Lawn', which also has lighter than normal flowers, they gain in appeal thereby.
The leaf underneath the truss was turned over to show the indumentum underneath at my suggestion and out of my own pure ignorance. Having not then done my homework I didn't know that the most distinctive things about R. hodgsonii foliage were the silvery flecks that persist on the top side of the leaves and which it has become almost obligatory to describe as "mica-like". The leaves do have these flecks, but you'll note that no leaves at all appear directly under the truss. In truth, the plant appears to have had a checkered past and has a definite lean and hungry look. It is a pleasure to report that this year's growth was sleek and strong, and the plant appears no longer in danger.