Rhododendron 'Biskra' in Vancouver, B. C.
Alleyne R. Cook, North Vancouver, B.C.
Photo by Cecil Smith
Mr. Guy Nearing in his review of the Cinnabarinum Series of Rhododendrons and the hybrids derived from that series (Vol. 26, No. 4, pg. 238) omitted to include the variety which is most suitable for colder climates. This is R. 'Biskra' the cross between R. ambiguum and R. cinnabarinum roylei.
From the latter this hybrid obtains the shape of the flowers which are hanging and tubular, the foliage, and the habit of growth which is upright but continually shooting new growths from the base. The color of the flowers is best described as deep pink.
From R. ambiguum this hybrid must obtain its hardiness. During the very cold winters when the temperature has dropped to 0° F, R. 'Biskra' has not been damaged whereas every member of the Cinnabarinum Series has been hurt sometimes just to the extent of the two previous years growth being killed. The hybrids of the series are usually damaged to a greater degree. Besides the minimum temperatures R. 'Biskra' has been exposed for weeks to bright sunshine with below freezing temperatures without any leaf scald and with none of the flower buds being frozen.
R. ambiguum is a medium growing member of the Triflorum Series. The flowers are a dull yellow. It has very little merit and is seldom seen in gardens, and yet it seems to be very effective as a parent.