Rhododendron insigne var. insigne

Description with 15 photos. Photo: Finn Bertelsen. A compact, slightly slow growing shrub, fully hardy in the garden. Young shoots thin, greyish tomentose. Petiole grey tomentose, to 20 mm. Leaf blade elliptic to lanceolate to 13 cm. Leaf apex acuminate, with mucro. Leaf base cuneate. Leaf adaxial side glabrous, with marked veins, dark green. Leaf abaxial side with a silver to copper coloured, smooth, shiny, plastered indumentum, in the microscope very similar in appearance to the hide of a newly curry-combed horse! Pedicel, with a floccose tomentum, later replaced by a fine, hairy cover mixed with some glandular hairs, 4-5 cm. Calyx floccose too, with 5 tiny, triangular lobes. Corolla with 5 lobes, broadly campanulate, light to dark pink in colour, with a darker coloured central stripe on the outside of each petal. Ovary densily covered by fine hairs, with 10 loculi. Stamens unequal in length, glabrous. Style glabrous, distally upwards bent and gradually becoming green coloured and expanded towards the disc-shaped stigma. Capsule hairy, to 20 mm. Seeds c. 2,3 mm, with well-developed floating appendages and with wings. Native habitat: SW Sichuan, China at 1200 – 2000 m according to Flora of China efloras.org..