Rhododendron sikangense var. sikangense

Description with 15 photos. Photo: Finn Bertelsen. An upright growing, open, large and evergreen shrub. Probably hardy. Young shoots slightly tomentose. Older shoots with peeling flakes of bark. Petiole (and basal part of leaf margin) slightly tomentose by bleached, short-stalked ramiform hairs, to 20 mm. Leaf blade narrow elliptic or lancet, to 12 cm. Leaf apex acuminate with mucro. Leaf base cuneate rounded. Leaf adaxial side middle green, initially with spread white, ramiform juvenile hairs, later glabrous. Leaf abaxial side light greyish green, almost glabrous, with scattered, ramiform hairs near base. Inflorescence an umbellate raceme with up to 12 flowers. Rachis to 25 mm. Pedicel densely tomentose, to 27 mm. Calyx with 5 lobes. Lobes rounded triangular, densely tomentose, c. 2 mm. The corolla etc. not observed. Capsule curved cylindrical, hairy with hairs 0.4 mm long, with (8)-10 locules, to 25 mm. Seeds with well-developed wings and floating appendages, 2.4 mm. Locality of origin FB15-2018: Muli county, Sichuan, China, 3600-3700m. Native habitat: Endemic to Sichuan, China at 2800-4400 m according to Flora of China, Cox & Cox (Encycl.Rhod.Sp.,sec. edit) a.o. Remarks: New observations of young leaves of seedlings have shown, that the hairs formerly interpreted as stellate hairs in fact are short-stalkde, ramiform hairs. In low magnification the hairs may look star-like, but they are not true stellate hairs.