Two Dexter Hybrids Confused by Their Names
Gordon E. Jones and Ed Parker
Photos by Planting Fields Arboretum
The Dexter hybrid 'William R. Coe' is listed (registered) in The International Rhododendron Register, 1958. It is named for the senior Mr. Coe, William Robertson Coe. Synonyms for the name are W.R. Coe and Mr. W.R. Coe.
Another Dexter hybrid was named after Mr. Coe's eldest son, William Rogers Coe. This plant has not been greatly propagated or introduced into the trade.
As the chance for confusion among the various names is so great, we cannot register any other than 'William R. Coe'. However, it is important that we are able to differentiate. the two plants. Their descriptions follow.
'William R. Coe' (synonym: Mr. W.R. Coe or W.R. Coe): A Dexter Hybrid. Reputedly a hybrid of the Fortunei series. A Charles O. Dexter cross grown at the William R. Coe estate (now Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay, New York, Flowers openly funnel-shaped, 3" x 2", with 5 lobes, Fuchsine Pink, 627/1 (H.C.C.) with small deep crimson blotch and crimson freckles on dorsal lobe. Truss 5" across x 5" high with 10-12 flowers. Free flowering. Leaves held 2 years, elliptic, glabrous. Plant broad, rounded, branching well, 4' tall x 8' wide in 20 years. Blooms 1 week before William Rogers Coe, 2 weeks before Mrs. W. R. Coe. Hardy to at least -8° F.
William Rogers Coe. - A Dexter Hybrid. Reputedly a hybrid of the Fortunei series. A Charles O. Dexter cross grown at the William R. Coe estate (now Planting Fields Arboretum), Oyster Bay, New York. Flowers openly funnel-shaped, 3" x 2", with 5-6 lobes, Fuchsine Pink 627/2 (H.C.C.) edging, Fuchsine Pink 627/3 inner lobes, with deep golden yellow blotch and freckles on dorsal lobe, fragrant. Truss, ball-shaped, 5" x 5", with 12-16 flowers. Floriferous. Leaves held 2 years, elliptic, 3" X 1¾" slightly recurved, glabrous.
Plant broad, rounded, branching well, 5' tall x 8' wide in 20 years. Blooms 1 week after 'William R. Coe'. Hardy to at least -8° F.
NOTE: Late comment from Dr. Herbert Racoff, Columbia, SC: "The plant registered as 'William R. Coe' has been widely distributed in the east. In the channels of trade it is sold and swapped as Mr. W.R. Coe...in my opinion William Rogers Coe is one of the best Coe-named Dexters. When I made a slide of it a few years ago, the blooms completely covered the plant."