Rhododendron orbiculare ssp. orbiculare

Description with 20 photos. Photo: Finn Bertelsen. A rounded, evergreen shrub. Hardy. Young shoots glabrous, green. Petiole glabrous, crimson on the upper side, pale green on the lower side, not grooved, to 8 cm. Leaf blade orbicular to ovate-orbicular, coriaceous, to 10.5 cm. Leaf apex rounded, with tiny mucro. Leaf base auriculate, with partly overlapping auricles. Leaf adaxial side matt green with yellow veins. Leaf abaxial side glaucous, papillose with brown decaying glands. Flower bud ovoid, enclosed by pointed, linear bud scales. Inflorescence an umbel-like raceme with 7-16 flowers. Rachis to 3 cm. Pedicel glabrous, pink, to 6 cm. Calyx with 7 rounded, triangular lobes, pink/green, < 1 mm. Lobes with short-stipitate glandular hairs, on the margins too. Corolla with 7 lobes, widely campanulate, glabrous on the outside, glabrous or finely hairy on the lowermost inside, reddish purple, 70 mm wide, 35 mm deep (long). Ovary conical, channelled, densely short-stipitate glandular, reddish purple, with 7-9 loculi, 8 mm. Stamens 14, unequal in length, shorter than corolla, 12-26 mm. Filaments glabrous, white. Anthers dark brown, 2.1-2.6 mm. Style glabrous, pink, to corolla mouth, c. 30 mm, with swollen, green stigma, 2.8 mm. Capsule glandular, to 3 cm. Origin: seeds of unknown origin. Native habitat: SW Sichuan, China at 1400-3500 (-4000) m according to Flora of China efloras org.