Rhododendron sichotense

Description with 25 photos. Photo: Finn Bertelsen. A broadly upright, partly evergreen shrub with wintering of the uppermost youngest leaves. Fully hardy. Young shoots and petioles, scattered scaly and puberulent, brownish. Petiole to 11 mm. Leaf blade elliptic to ovoid, slightly arched, very aromatic, to 50 mm. Leaf apex rounded, with noticeable, deflexed mucro. Leaf base obtuse, but with margins tapering into the petiole. Leaf adaxial side dark green or purple-brown (winter), shiny, scaly. Scales (0)-1-3 x their diam. apart, 140 – 180 micrs. Leaf abaxial side grey olive-green with reddish midrib, scaly. Scales 0.5-2 x their diam. apart, 140 – 180 micrs. Inflorescence with 1-2 flowers. Flower bud broadly spindle-shaped, densely scaly, with ciliate bud scales. Pedicel scaly, puberulent, reddish, to 6 mm. Calyx rim-shapede, scaly, < 1 mm. Corolla with 5 lobes, broadly funnel-shaped, with the lowermost outside slightly puberulent, inside glabrous, red purple, c. 40 mm wide, c. 12 mm deep (long). Ovary ovoid-conical, densely scaly, with inserted style, with 5 loculi, c. 2.5 mm. Stamens 10, unequal in length. Filamentstowards base glandular hairy, red purple. Anthers purple. Style longer than stamens, glabrous, red purple, to 32 mm, with dark bullate stigma, 1 mm. Capsule unknown. Seeds not measured. Native habitat: Sikhote-Alin Mts. north to Vladivostok, E. Russia. Remarks: In 2018 we received 3 batches of cw seeds as a gift from Bot. Gard. Inst., Vladivostok (Inna Koksheeva). According to Koksheeva et al. R. dauricum, R. sichotense and R. mucronulatum are maintained at species level after studies of seeds and pollen – but is that a sufficient criterion?