Rhododendron lepidotum; fruticulus ramosus, totus lepidotus, squamulis albidis ferrugineisve, foliis obovatis lanceolatis oblongisve apiculatis breve petiolatis pallide viridibus, pedunculia terminalibus solitariis 2-3-nisve erectis, sepalis 5 foliaceis obtusis, corollae flavidae v. purpureas tubo brevi inflate lobis patentibus late ovatis, staminibus 8 filamentis ciliatis, ovario 5-loculari, stigmate brevi decurvo. Hook. fl. in Journ. Hort. Soc. Lond. v. 7. pp. 80, 104.
Rhododendron lepidotum. Wall. Cat. n. 768. Don, Gard. Dict. v. 3. р. 845. De Сand. Prodr. v. 7. p. 724. Royle, Ill. p. 260. t. 64. f. l. Hook. fil. in Sikkim Rhod. Conspect. p. 6.
Rhododendron elaeagnoides et R. salignum. Hook. fil. Sikkim Rhod. t. 23, right hand fig. 1, 2, and left hand fig. 1.
Rhododendron obovatum. Hook.fil. Sikkim Rhod. Conspect. Spec. p. 6.
The purple-flowered state of this very variable species of Rhododendron blossomed freely in April, 1852, in a cool greenhouse of the Royal Gardens. The seeds were sent from Sikkim-Himalaya by Dr. Hooker, under the name of R. elaeagnoides, and as such this is figured in the work on the Rhododendrons, with dark purple flowers, and also with deep yellow flowers, looking like those of some Helianthemum. In that work, however, the author alludes to its close affinity, as well as that of R. salignum, with the R. lepidotum of Wallich (only known to us from dried specimens) ; and a further examination has satisfied him that they and his R. obovatum can in no way be specifically distinguished from authentic specimens of lepidotum. He has therefore, in the 'Journal of the Horticultural Society of London' united them.
"The species abounds," Dr. Hooker says, " at an elevation of Eastern Himalaya of from 14,000 to 15,000 feet; but may be found as low down as 8000 feet, in moist valleys, forming a stout tortuous stock : the branches, as thick as a crow's quill, rather scattered, bearing tufts of branchlets at the top. It is a slender or stout twiggy shrub, one to four feet high, branching, often growing in widely extended clumps, as heather does with us, but never so extensively ; and it emits in sunshine a powerful resinous odour. Leaves of a pale glaucous green, lighter underneath, and sometimes ferruginous where the scales abound, one- half to one and a half inch long. Flower-stalks more or less elongated, one and a half to two inches long, slender. Corolla yellow or dirty purple, half an inch across the lobes, scaly, especially on the outside of the tube ; the upper lobes are spotted with green.—The odour of this plant is strongly resinous, and rather sweetish and pleasant. Its common native name is Tsaluma, or Tsuma, amongst the Bhoteas." Hook.fl.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine Nº 4657 Vol LXXVIII (1852)