QBARS - v15n1 Additional Notes on R. chlorops

Additional Notes on R. Chlorops
Ben Lancaster, Camas, Wash.

I noticed in the last Bulletin that there were quite a number of species unreported for the new Society Book, I thought perhaps I could throw some light on a little known species.

R. chlorops
Fig. 12. R. chlorops
Lancaster photo

For many years I have been growing a rhododendron purchased as R. croceum . I was never quite satisfied with this classification as it was so different in flower and plant character than the form listed in the Species Book as R. croceum and which is now merged with R. wardii. It has won cut truss ribbons in A.R.S. shows as R. croceum but I hear it was disqualified in the R. wardii-croceum class in some shows because it had more than 5 petals. I think the judges were correct in this decision.
I have sold several plants from this clone as R. croceum before I was aware of the R. croceum-wardii merger. I regret this misnaming if it has in any way contributed to confusion in classification. Dr. Phetteplace, in Eugene has one of these plants. It has been reported to me that he found the same plant growing in England as R. chlorops . I understand there is some reference to R. chlorops in some of the later books from England. I would like very much to see these references as we considered this plant as one of the best in our collection.
We have used it extensively in our breeding work and are starting to select clones from the various crosses as they come into bloom. It is the seed parent of our R. 'Inca Gold,' a barium yellow clone. Our R. croceum (?) X wardii (?) was disqualified as a new hybrid as not, enough parentage was involved but took a blue as R. wardii in the 1960 show. This cross was very consistent as to bloom but varied in habit. Several collectors have rated them as the best bright yellow they have seen.
I would like very much to see a botanical description of R. chlorops to compare with my plant. If it is R. chlorops I will, of course, have to make some changes in my breeding records. Incidentally this plant was purchased as a 12" seedling from, as I remember, a Mrs. Frey in Seattle about 20 years ago. It is now 6 feet tall and as broad. It has proven hardy to -20° here at Lackamas Gardens (Fig. 12).
I would appreciate comments from others on this plant to clear up is classification. I don't recall if I have one in the Test Garden or not but I have one of its progeny, R. 'Inca Gold', earmarked for test. It blooms fairly young.