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Journal American Rhododendron Society

Current Editor:
Dr. Glen Jamieson ars.editor@gmail.com


Volume 56, Number 4
Fall 2002

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Rhododendron occidentale: An Example of Variation Within a Rhododendron Species
Britt Smith
Kent, Washington

Sixteen years of searching, fighting our way through the brush, climbing hills, and descending to wet areas on the West Coast with Frank Mossman surprised and pleased us by revealing to us the magnitude of variation to be found in one rhododendron species, Rhododendron occidentale. Another factor which pleased us was our finding at least one plant in bloom every time during which we looked, even on New Year's Day. The hope of finding further variations was encouraged by the fact that, without extensive searching, we found variations in the color of Rhododendron macrophyllum from pink to white, and to rich red.

We were led to think that there might be greater variation than we had previously thought, in at least some of the Himalayan species. This was fueled by the fact that early explorers in those areas were paid bonuses for each new species which they found. It seemed that there was little encouragement to undertake the much greater effort to determine the extent of variation of those species. Trips to Sikkim and discussion with Forestry Department officials there led them to casual and then more serious investigations of their native rhododendron species. They found attractive variations. They came to desire to protect the botanical treasures which they found. As a result, a number of large rhododendron reservations were established.

Finally there comes to mind the assignment of credit for the origination and development of these beautiful variations and the ultimate question: Who is the breeder?

R. occidentale SM 167     R. occidentale SM 401
R. occidentale SM 167.
Photo by Britt Smith
    R. occidentale SM 401.
Photo by Britt Smith
 
R. occidentale SM 150     R. occidentale DD white
R. occidentale SM 150.
Photo by Britt Smith
    R. occidentale DD white.
Photo by Britt Smith
 
R. occidentale 'Stage Coach Frills'     R. occidentale SM 407
R. occidentale 'Stage Coach Frills'.
Photo by Britt Smith
    R. occidentale SM 407.
Photo by Britt Smith
 
R. occidentale SM 55     R. occidentale SM 30
R. occidentale SM 55.
Photo by Britt Smith
    R. occidentale SM 30.
Photo by Britt Smith


Volume 56, Number 4
Fall 2002

DLA Ejournal Home | JARS Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JARS and other ejournals