Chromolithograph Plate, 1879, Found in The Netherlands
This chromolithograph plate was published in Nederlandsche Flora en Pomona of the year 1879, and was drawn by A.J. Wendel.
The accompanying text is in Dutch and interesting enough to translate:
"These handsome flowering shrubs belong to the family of the ERICACEAE and are related to the Rhododendrons. When compared the opinion generally turns out in favor of Rhododendron, which is evergreen and has larger flowers, whereas the azaleas lose their leaves. But in color splendor the last wins and a lot of them have a sweet smell, whereas smelling Rhododendrons, at least the types and varieties which we grow (the Rh. Azaleoides smells a little), are exceptions.
The varieties of azaleas represented on the plate, are all raised in Gent from seed.
No. 1 carries the name: Géant of the batailles.
No. 2 carries the name: coccinea speciosa.
No. 3 carries the name: Eugénie.
No. 4 carries the name: rosea lineata.
No. 5 carries the name: igneae nova.
No. 6 carries the name: souvenir the Royghem.
No.1 is up to now the darkest colored known to us; No.5 is the one with the biggest flowers and dark red in color. Both types deserve most of the recommendation for 'pot culture' (forcing).
In Germany one calls these 'Pontische' azaleas, to distinguish them from Az. indica, because they are partly hybrids from azalea pontica, imported in the year 1702 or 1703 by Tournefort, simultaneously with Rh. ponticum.
Additionally, they partly also descend from Az. nudiflora, Az. viscosa, Az. Glauca, imported in 1734 from North-America and from Az. calendulacea, imported in 1804 from America to Europe.
Many plant breeders call them 'Gentsche azalea's, Azalées rustiques de Gand, hardy Ghent-Azalea's', because not long after the year 1830, Mister Mortier (according to the Dendrologie of dr. Karl Koch 'Bäckermeister' at Gent) has been the first to raise these handsome plants."
Theo Damen is a member of the Dutch Chapter and editor of its journal. While working at the gardens in Wageningen he found old plates in the herbarium one of which is the one illustrating this article.