The First Published Vernacular Name For R. kuromeinsus
Collingwood Ingram, Kent, England
It has always been my belief that the rhododendron named by Mr. Starling 'Yaku Fairy' in his article published in the Rhododendron & Camellia Year Book for 1971 belonged to the same species as the one found by Mr. Warren Berg on Mount Kuromi in Yakushima. But as his description of 'Yaku Fairy' disagreed so markedly from my diagnosis of Rhododendron kuromiensis which appeared in the Quarterly Bulletin American Rhododendron Society Vol. 31 No. 3, I refrained therein from mentioning my belief. For instance, Starling states that the leaves of 'Yaku Fairy' are lanceolate in shape, whereas those of R. kuromiensis are very distinctly ovate. Furthermore, he describes the blossom of 'Yaku Fairy' as being "typical three and four-flowered trusses of R. keiskei", whereas apart from their pale-yellow colour, they could hardly be more unlike those of a topotypical plant of Miquel's R. keiskei. The latter difference is clearly indicated in the photographs illustrating my paper in the Bulletin. These show that they differ, not only in their size and shape, but also in their posture.
I have now had an opportunity to compare living plants of 'Yaku Fairy' and R. kuromiensis. I have no hesitation in saying they are "the same entity or taxon."