QBARS - v14n1 Rhododendron 'Bustard'

Rhododendron 'Bustard'
by P. H. Brydon

R. 'Bustard'
Fig. 8.  R. 'Bustard'
Brydon photo

The accompanying illustration (Fig. 8) was taken on July 4th, 1959, and, as you can see, there are still unopened trusses on the plant. The plant was grown from a layer imported from Exbury Estate in England and the hybrid was created by the late Lionel de Rothschild by crossing the late flowering species R. auriculatum with R. 'Penjerrick' ( campylocarpum var. elatum x griffithianum ).

R. 'Bustard' has a vigorous growth and I would judge that a ten year old plant would be about 6 feet high. The mature leaves are 7 inches long, 3 inches wide, dark green with a cordate base and an obtuse apex. The trusses contain from 11 to 13 flowers, each of which is 4 to 4½ inches wide, open funnel shaped, and of excellent substance. The color is white and there is a conspicuous crimson blotch in the throat of each blossom. The pattern of the branches and direction of growth would indicate that this fine hybrid will eventually form a distinct bole, much like its parent R. auriculatum, and may become an attractive small tree 15 feet high when mature. R. 'Bustard' is best suited to an open woodland or location where it will receive high shade and protection from strong winds. Furthermore, July can be quite warm in Willamette land and leafy shade will assist keeping the open flowers fresh and attractive for a longer period than if they were in an exposed position. It has withstood down to zero here in Salem, but the plant was under high evergreen shade. In regions where zero weather is regularly expected, I doubt that R. 'Bustard' would be hardy and I feel that Zone 7 is about right, which means a minimum of 5 degrees above zero.