Rhododendron smirnowii

Description with 25 photos. Photo: Finn Bertelsen. A vigorous, compact, in time several meter high, evergreen shrub. Highly resistant to frost. Young shoots and leaves whitish tomentose. Petiole covered by a greyish, woolly tomentum intermixed with brown glands, to 30 mm. Leaf blade oblanceolate to elliptic, with recurved margins, to 20 cm. Apex acute to obtuse, without mucro. Leaf base cuneate to acute or obtuse. Leaf adaxial side initially covered by a greyish tomentum, later glabrous, dark green. Leaf abaxial side covered by a bistrate indumentum. Upper layer beige to light brownish, woolly, made up of fine ramiforme hairs, lower layer whitish, compact. With intermixed, scattered, dark glands, particularily along the midrib. Inflorescence with up to 16 flowers. Rachis to 37 mm. Pedicel densely glandular hairy, to 54 mm. Calyx with 5 broadly rounded lobes, densely hairy-glandular hairy,1.5-2 mm. Corolla with 5 lobes, funnel-campanulate, lobes with frilled margins, whitish pink, spotted brown, c. 80 mm wide, c. 40 mm deep. Ovary pentagonally conical, grooved, densely covered by white, smooth hairs, with 5 loculi, 5.5 mm. Stamens 10, unequal in length, proximally glandular hairy, coloured. Style dark pink, straight, proximally glandular hairy-hairy, longer than stamens, to 40 mm, with upwards bent stigma, turbinate, bullate, 2.5 mm. Capsule cylindrical, densely hairy, 12-15 x 4 mm. Seeds with well developed floating appendages and wings, 1.1-1.4 mm. Native habit: NE Turkey, Caucasus (Georgia) according to www.rosebay.org.