Cultivars Named for Presidents, First Ladies
Jay W. Murray, ARS Registrar
Colts Neck, New Jersey
Donald H. Voss
In response to an inquiry from the Curator of The White House, the authors of this note checked several comprehensive published sources - including The International Rhododendron Register (1958) and supplements - for rhododendron and azalea cultivars named after a President or a First Lady. Readers who have additional information concerning the cultivar names listed below or other relevant names are urged to send such information to Jay Murray.
'Gen. George Washington' Evergreen azalea; purplish pink, hose-in-hose; Marlbank Farms "Colonial Series" hybrid; Dick T. Cole, Yorktown, VA.
'Thomas Jefferson' Deciduous azalea; moderate reddish orange, 6 ruffled petals, fragrant, 4" dia., 10 flowers in truss; Beneschoen Gardens, Maple Creek, OR, 1967.
'Dolly Madison' Elepidote rhododendron; white with moderate reddish brown dorsal blotch, 12-13 flowers in truss; David Leach, North Madison, OH, reg. 1972.
'Abraham Lincoln' Elepidote rhododendron; strong red, fading to pink; Samuel B. Parsons, Flushing, L.I., NY, pre-1875.
'President Lincoln' Elepidote rhododendron; pale purplish pink, brown to bronzy markings, up to 26 flowers in dense rounded truss; Samuel B. Parsons, Flushing, L.I., NY, pre-1871; one of the earliest rhododendron hybrids raised in the United States; synonyms: 'Herbert Parsons', 'Betsy Parsons', 'Bertha Parsons'; not to be confused with 'Abraham Lincoln'.
'General Grant' Elepidote rhododendron; soft rose; Samuel B. Parsons, Flushing, L.I., NY, pre-1875.
'Remembrance of President Garfield' Evergreen azalea; very deep rose; L. van Houtte, 1885.
'President Cleveland' Deciduous azalea (Mollis); orange-yellow with reddish glow; Ottolander & Hooftman, Boskoop, The Netherlands, 1896.
'President Roosevelt' Evergreen azalea; semi-double, bright crimson; Soc. An. L. van Houtte, Senr., Belgium, 1912 (synonyms: ?'Roosevelt', 'Lady Roosevelt').
'Mrs. Roosevelt' Evergreen azalea; bud sport of 'Rudolph Seidel'; resembles 'Rudolph Seidel', which is deep yellowish pink with a dark blotch; Aug. Haerens, Zomergem, Belgium, 1911 (in England this is called 'Pink' and is the most tender rose-colored azalea among the varieties of R. indicum).
'President Roosevelt' Elepidote rhododendron; deep purple, black blotch - but which President Roosevelt?
'Franklin D. Roosevelt' Deciduous azalea (Mollis); vivid red to reddish orange, blotch orange; Felix & Dijkhuis, Boskoop, The Netherlands, 1950.
'Pres. F. D. Roosevelt' Evergreen azalea; Rutherford Hybrid; moderate red, semi-double, frilled, 1½" dia.; Bobbink & Atkins Nursery, East Rutherford, NJ.
'President Roosevelt' Elepidote rhododendron; bright red, fading to white in the center, conical trusses of 15-29 flowers; leaves glossy green, variegated with bright flashes of yellow; a Belgian hybrid of R. arboreum found in The Netherlands.
'Eisenhower' Deciduous azalea (Mollis); strong orange, veined vivid reddish orange outside, orange blotch; Felix and Dijkhuis, Boskoop, The Netherlands, 1950.
'Eisenhower' Deciduous azalea (Knap Hill); vivid reddish orange, blotch strong orange; Rothschild estate at Exbury, England, sold to Waterer, 1952.
'General Eisenhower' Elepidote rhododendron; spiraea (carmine) red, large trusses; A. Kluis, Boskoop, The Netherlands, 1946; also US.
'Mamie Doud Eisenhower' Elepidote rhododendron; pure pink, 30 flowers in truss; T. Kordus, Jamesburg, NJ, 1972.
'John F. Kennedy' Deciduous azalea; dark reddish orange, ruffled, fragrant, 3" dia., 9 flowers in truss; Beneschoen Gardens, Maple Creek, OR, 1968.
'President Kennedy' Elepidote rhododendron; white with pale greenish yellow blotch, 20 flowers in truss; Richard A. Fennichia, 1965.
'Mrs. LBJ' Evergreen azalea; white, semi-double hose-in-hose, wavy, 3" dia.; from UDSA Plant Introduction Station, Glenn Dale, MD; cross by Albert Close, introduced by John Creech.
Two additional cultivar names may relate to former White House residents, but the associations are problematical:
'Taylori' Vireya rhododendron; (brookeanum var. gracile x 'Princess Alexandra'); pink; J. Byls, Ghent, Belgium, before 1874; exhibited by Veitch, London, England, 1891; awarded First Class Certificate by RHS, 1935.
'T. Roosevelt' Evergreen azalea; strong red, 2½ - 3" dia.; grown in California.