QBARS - v24n4 Rhododendron valentinianum

Rhododendron valentinianum
P. H. Brydon

R. valentinianum
R. valentinianum
An excellent form from the R. B. G. Edinburgh.
Photo by P. H. Brydon

The color picture is of a two year plant from a cutting sent by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, to the Strybing Arboretum. After seeing it in flower, I suspect that it is the plant referred to by Dr. H. R. Fletcher in his article "The Rating Of Merit Of Rhododendron Species" in the R. H. S. Year Book of 1962 and I quote "...there is a great variation in plants under the name of R. valentinianum . The true plant was introduced by Forrest round about 1920 (F. 16011) and is a dwarf compact shrub with bright butter yellow flowers; it is also a very slow grower and is quite hardy, and very elegant, on an exposed position in the Rock Garden in Edinburgh. This is the plant which was given the A.M. in 1933 in London..."
I note that the A.R.S. species ratings give it from 2 to 4 for flower and from 2 to 3 for plant. Taking into account the variants which are in cultivation, this was the only course open. However, for this particular form, I would certainly suggest that the official A.R.S. rating should be 4/3.