QBARS - v13n2 The Taxonomy of New Guinea Rhododendrons

The Taxonomy of New Guinea Rhododendrons
J. S. Womersley
Chief, Division of Botany New Guinea Department of Forests

In the note by Doleshy (Am. Rhod. Soc. 12 (4) 179, 1958) the author implies that the taxonomy of the genus Rhododendron as it occurs in New Guinea is in a state of chaos. Until three years ago this was so.  However, Dr. H. Sleumer at the Rijks Herbarium, Leiden has been revising the family Ericaceae for Flora Malesiana, including the genus Rhododendron . When Dr. Sleumer's monograph is published, we shall have some 200 well defined species from the New Guinea mainland. Most are mid-mountain to high mountain plants, many being epiphytic but one or two come as low as 400 feet.

For people considering the cultivation of rhododendrons from New Guinea, I must point out that the length of day experienced throughout the island of 12 hours plus or minus 30 minutes at most must be reproduced for the successful cultivation and flowering of these and other New Guinea plants, irrespective of the altitude from which they come.