R. carolinianum album compactum
George Ring III, Fairfax, Virginia
R. carolinianum album compatum
Photo by George Ring III
Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Clement G. Bowers (The MacMillan Co., 1936) reports two forms of the white R. carolinianum. One grows to 15 feet in height, corresponding to the tall pink form (var. foliatum) of the species. The other grows only to 3 to 6 feet in height, corresponding to a more compact pink form. However, Bowers describes the lower growing white form as a distinct race, less vigorous than the type and having bright green leaves.
Two fine clones of the compact form of R. carolinianum album appeared from thousands of seedlings raised by the late Joseph B. Gable, nurseryman, in Stewartstown, Pa. One of these he noted in the garden of his neighbor, J. C. Bowman, who purchased various seedlings from Mr. Gable from time to time. This clone, known now as 'Bowman's White Carolinianum' is still growing happily in its original location.
The other clone, selected by Mr. Gable, is known as 'Gable's Carolinianum Album Compactum'. Clone is shown in the illustration. The flowers on this plant open with a faint tinge of pink and quickly turn to a brilliant white, lasting up to two weeks. The truss, consisting of seven to nine 11/2-inch flowers, is ball shaped and about 31/2 inches across. The leaf color, in contrast to the pale green described by Bowers, is dark green, of heavy texture; and the leaf size averages 1/2 x 3 inches. Both of the Gable clones root fairly easily from early summer cuttings and are hardy to minus 25° F. The clone, 'Gable's Carolinianum Album Compactum' is sparingly available from several nurserymen in the East.