QBARS - v28n3 A Second Look at Study Clubs Devoted to Species

A Second Look at Study Clubs Devoted to Species
Esther Avery, Tacoma, Washington

Cells divide and multiply - that makes growth. Thoughts are like cells and shared with people - they make growth, also.
In the Pacific Northwest we have so many skilled people working with plants and rhododendrons in particular, willing to share their thoughts and knowledge with others that the last few years have been years of remarkable growth in general and cultural information - for almost any person who wished to work with rhododendrons.
Thanks to the Pacific Rhododendron Society, the old "Species of Rhododendron", originally published in 1930 by the Rhododendron Society of Great Britain is being reprinted in handbook form. Until this time, new members coming into the clubs were at a quandary as to where to get some information concerning "series study " at the meetings. The handbooks will be completed by the end of the 1974 season, and available to everyone.
As they scan all of this information, many of the newcomers are apt to back off in dismay. It is hoped that longtime students of "Species of Rhododendron" will come to their aid with encouragement and help.
Where to begin? Numerically, there are 44 series of species, some unplaced species, as well as the Malesian rhododendrons.
So...let's start with a three-year limit to scan the whole lot of them. That is about 15 full series groups a year. With eight meetings a season, some will need doubling up to meet the quota. At this speed there would be advantage to pre-study and knowing the "key" of each group to come under consideration - before meeting time.
Employing a record of the information offered and keeping all issues in a portfolio under each Species group, could be of great value to those who follow after you.
The issues of this kind of study, then, should be open to members contributing to charting, as alike species groups, native areas, soils, rainfall temperatures, expeditions, where in cultivation where in local areas, performance in local areas and evaluation of seedlings, and then tuck into the portfolio the bibliography worked with that evening. Should members be willing to contribute specimens for botanical pressing for the portfolio, this would be invaluable in retrospect, as would pictures or slides of the series studied.
It looks like a three-year time limit is very important. Information and events are fast moving. People often maintain membership only for that span of time. With such a commitment to start and finish there would be an opportunity for the full range of study.
It is likely that a new and better outlook will develop between the plant people of the United States and China, where so many rhododendrons grow as native plants. We would like to hope, that in the not too distant future we will be able to put study time on anything new coming from that area. A three-year limit study - as described - would assure all interested people of a total view of the "Species of Rhododendron" and provide the more interested members with a new beginning.

Three-year Limit

To go to a three-year-limit study of species of rhododendrons and the great number of groups involved, a comparative look at groups that are the most alike, seems in order.
Because the new handbooks are printed from the old "Species of Rhododendrons, originally published by the Rhododendron Society of Great Britain, we will consider that source of information only, in the following study.*

Names of some: series and a number of species have been changed since this book on which this study is based was published. Editor.

On the following chart we see eight distinct species groups.

1. Cinnabarinum S. 3. Falconeri S. 5. Micranthum S. 7. Vaccinioides S.
2. Edgeworthii S. 4. Ferrugineum S. 6. Trichocladum S. 8. Camtschaticum

Fulvum and fulvoides are distinct. The others of the fulvum series recall other groups. It is here that comparison can begin.
When charting is done of most alike plants, as described in the above named book, nucleus of growth patterns of species groups show up. It is this factor that will influence the choice of groups for each month in planning the three-year study as described following.
Arboreum S. forms a strong nucleus with Barbatum S. and Irroratum S. as its nearest allies. So let's look at these for January.
Campanulatum receives a note of comparison with Arboreum S. R. uvarifolium in the Fulvum S. is compared to s.s. Argyrophyllum, of the Arboreum S. so we will place Fulvum S. in this group for February, and as Lacteum S. shows a relationship to Campanulatum Series we'll add that group, and move along with other comparable likenesses.
Anthopogon S. "is perhaps not separable" from Cephalanthum S. and Micranthum (one of the distinct series) to me is similar in plant form to R. cephalanthum , so if agreeable to the group we can view these three together in March.
Campylogynum S. is most nearly like Glacum S. which is closest to Lepidotum S., except pumilum in that group. This could be the April study.
May should be especially for the people "on Tour". The study could be the Maddenii S. and do as much as possible with the Cinnabarinum S.
September 1974 - Continue with plant groups seen on the Sikkim Tour Edgeworthii Falconeri and Grande Series all distinct groups.
Neriiflorum S. should be all that could be handled in one session R. griersonianum could be added here though the text compares it to one in a Taliense S. These for October.
November can be left to finish the year's work, the Sikkim Tour, information gathering, or move ahead as the Study/Club would wish.
1975 - January could begin the spokes around the Azalea S. nucleus , Dauricum Trichocladum and Stamineum Series, are listed as comparable in various details.
February should finish the series groups outlying azalea, with Ovatum S. Albiflorum S. and Semibarbatum S. furnishing study for the evening.
Azalea Series alone, will more than fill the March meeting.
April has the big Triflorum S. which is described as scarcely separable from Heliolepis S. with its satellite, the Carolinianum S. These three in a nucleus of similarity are too much for one session, so the last two can be for study in May.
September 1975 - Scabrifolium and Virgatum S. haven't been talked about for a long time. Maybe some new seedlings are due for recording.
October goes to Ferrugineum S. described as a natural group. Maybe some time here to go backward or forward for comparison with other plant groups.
November, again the chance to finish portfolios, review progress, etc., or go to the Malesian Rhododendrons.
January 1976 - Prepare well and start strong on Taliense Series. It will take all night.
February, Ponticum S. has some comparable indumentum to Taliense Series and comparable qualities to the chrysanthum - metternichii group go toward Irroratum, Lacteum, and Taliense Series.
March can be for Thomsonii, another big series, with most alike Fortunei to follow in April.
May could hold Auriculatum S., do some herbarium work, and catch up on seedling registration.
September 1976 can have the distinct Series Vaccinioides as well as S. Moupinense that compares to Maddenii and further discussion of that series. This month could pick up other comparable groups of Maddenii, also. Namely S. Camelliiflorum and Boothii. Also at this point we can recall that the Triflorum Series probably originated from the Maddenii Series.
October. The author believed that the Lapponicum Series developed from Anthopogon, Cephalanthum Campylogynum, and Glacum Series groups, so it could be studied as a single unit or by comparisons. Choice of the club November.
The ones left are Saluenense S. and R. camtschaticum .
A three-year-limit study would assure all of a total view of the species.

S. Arboreum S. Campanulatum S. Anthopogon
S. Barbatum S. Lacteum S. Cephalanthum
S. Irroratum S. Fulvum S. Micranthum
S. Lepidotum S. Maddenii S. Edgeworthii
S. Glaucum S. Cinnabarinum S. Grande
S. Campylogynum S. Falconeri
S. Neriiflorum Finish portfolios or go to
S. Griersonianum tender series.
S. Dauricum S. Semibarbatum S. Azalea
S. Trichocladum S. Ovatum
S. Albiflorum S. Stamineum
S. Triflorum S. Heliolepis S. Scabrifolium
S. Carolinianum S. Virgatum
S. Ferrugineum Finish portfolios or go to
Malesian R.
S. Taliense S. Ponticum S. Thomsonii
S. Fortunei S. Auriculatum S. Vaccinioides
S. Moupinense
S. Camelliiflorum
S. Boothii
Touch on Maddenii to
S. Lapponicum S. Saluenense
S. Camtschaticum

The Tool for a Three-Year Species Study

In the Study Club, there appears to be the potential interest in exploring the so far uncharted fields in Species Rhododendron study. This could come about through a recorded fact gathering process, with the facts brought together in the meetings for deposit in portfolios for further study and research.
A form sheet, alike for each species , would probably be the best tool. It should cover any information that any member might like. In addition the form could provide the initial evaluation of new hybrid seedlings in the community, should the owner wish to register one publicly.
The page below contains some subjects to consider for a wide open study of this kind. It should be kept in mind that other items for charting could be added to the form at any point along the way, and this should be encouraged.
A specialized study of this kind would get a great amount of information into the meetings and provide participation by more members. However, it's greatest worth would be the information put together from research of books and recordings of information not available to the general membership. It would also provide a contemporary charting of facts not yet in print, and a basis for current evaluation.
Such a study, with a continuous set form in a three year time limit, would afford a discipline of where to start and what each person would most like to contribute to the overall project.
Each member of the study group would fill out the information given below for each rhododendron studied. The information as originally used by our study group, was in a form leaving space for information and evaluations to be filled in. Members take turns writing master copies for the portfolios which remain with the study club. These portfolios make an excellent exhibit at a rhododendron show.
L ast, and probably the most important, the forms provide for the opinion and evaluation by the members in important areas of the study of the species of rhododendrons.

(Originally set up by the study club with the space for filling in information and evaluation.)
Series rated on 1, 2, 3 scale Europe
Subseries Insect Traveler & Garden
Size Sun United States
Explorer Wind Traveler & Garden
Country Wetness Locally
Year Dryness Name, if willing
Geology of range Heat Names of growers, if willing
Surface soil Soil Chemicals Source of seeds
Micro-climate Spray chemicals or dusts Grower declaration
forest Other good
alpine medium
epiphytic DR. ROCK COLLECTION standard
rocky ridges Plants up for observation
grassy slopes who Plants up for possible award
open stony pastures where Plants up for award
other under number Award received
Other primitive information


Value to commerce l, 2, 3
Reclassification comments good Value for hybridizing 1, 2, 3
Awarded Form medium Comment
Author's comments standard On new hybrids
Cox, Leach, etc. comparable to some Parentage
Propagation, ease of 1 2 3 other variety or comments Controlled cross?
Value to commerce 1, 2, 3