Rhododendron decorum 'Yulong Xueshan'

Description with 24 photos. Photo: Finn Bertelsen. An upright growing, evergreen shrub. Sensitive to frost. Need a protected site in the garden. New growth bronze-coloured. Young shoots later green and glabrous. Petiole glabrous, 1.3-4.2 cm. Leaf blade oblong elliptic to (typically) oblong obovate, to 20×6 cm. Leaf apex obtuse to rounded, with mucro. Leaf base acute, obtuse or subcordate. Leaf adaxial side dark green, glabrous. Leaf abaxial side grey green with light veins and midrib, with rare fine, brown dots of hair bases. Flower bud ovoid, with ciliolate cover scales. Inflorescence with 7-11 flowers. Rachis c. 20-40 mm. Pedicel 35-67 mm, glabrous. Calyx with 7-8 lobes, rounded, irregular, with white glands, c. 2.5 mm. Corolla with 6-7 lobes with undulating margins, widely funnel-campanulate, glabrous, white with pink tinge in opening, green or green spotted in the base of throat, fragrant, c. 100 mm wide and c. 30 mm deep. Ovary rounded conical, channelled, densely covered by colourless glands, c. 6-7 mm, with (9)-11 loculi. Stamens 14-17, unequal in length, pubescent at base, to c. 35 mm. Anthers arranged in a wide, triangular formation. Style greenish, white glandular-hairy, 42-45 mm with upwards bent, yellow-greenish, disc-shaped, bullate stigma, c. 3.8 mm. Capsule glabrous, slightly conical, c. 30×10 mm. Seeds with well developed floating appendages and wings, 3.1-3.8 mm. Locality of origin: Jadedragon Snowmountain, Lijiang, Yunnan, Kina.Remarks: The flowers of this species are edible after blanching in boiling water. It was served to us in a hotel in Feilaisi close to Deqen in 2014. 

The above described specimen is referred to ssp. diaprepes due to the size of the petiole, the leaf blade and the corolla, being larger in all parts as compared with ssp. decorum. Native habitat: SW Sichuan, W Yunnan, China and Myanmar, at 1700-3300 m according to Flora of China efloras org.