Front Cover Picture
John P. Evans, M.D., Oakland, CA
According to Dr. Sleumer R. aurigeranum is classified as belonging in the Section Vireya, Subsection Euvireya, and Series Javanica. In size it varies from a small tree to a shrub in its native habit and it is found usually in the Morobe District of New Guinea. He concludes the description with the note that it is worthy of being cultivated for its showy flowers.
Our present goals for many species collectors and hybridizes centers about the finding or hybridizing a good clear yellow rhododendron. Fortunately for those able to grow the Vireya we have a source of fine yellow flowers not previously available. At the present this includes the following: R. laetum from the Arfak Mountains in the Anggi Giga Lake area of North West New Guinea. This species is considered by most of us as being the finest yellow Vireya. The present R. aurigeranum pictured on the cover of this issue has the possibility of widening that coveted position.
We are in debt to the U. S. D. A. New Plant Introduction Division for the subject of this discussion. It was sent to Strybing Arboretum in the summer of 1973 as a 12" rooted plant and with Pete Sullivan's tender care it bloomed in seven months in the greenhouse at Strybing.
In our opinion this is the finest R. aurigeranum we have seen to date. It has a classical truss with bicolored yellow-orange corollas, of excellent substance and well held. To appear on a young un-established, but vigorous plant is most impressive and makes us feel that this form of R. aurigeranum, U. S. D. A. 354-292, is not only an exceptional form but a most welcome addition to our gene pool for future hybridization within the Vireya section.