Rhododendron vernicosum

Description with 18 photos. Photo: Finn Bertelsen. In time a small tree, slightly vulnerable to cold winds. Young shoots glabrous. Petiole glabrous, to 36 mm. Leaf blade oblong ovate, elliptic to oblong elliptic, coriaceous, to 12.8 x 6.2 cm. Leaf apex obtuse to rounded with mucro. Leaf base cordate to rounded. Leaf adaxial side dark green, glabrous. Leaf abaxial side light grey-green, shaggy by brown glandular hairs (only visible in the microscope). Inflorescence a short raceme with 8-12 flowers. Rachis c. 10 mm, glandular hairy. Pedicel with reddish, glandular hairs; 14 – 16 mm. Calyx with 7 rounded, irregular lobes, to 1.7 mm. Calyx including margins covered by red glands. Corolla with 6-7 lobes, wide funnel-campanulate, glabrous on the in- and outside, red purple in opening, later rosy, with crimson spots in the throat, c. 50 mm wide, c. 35 mm deep. Ovary densely covered by red, stipitate glands, conical, with 8-12 loculi, c. 7 mm. Stamens (13) 14, unequal in lengths, 15-21 mm, pubescent at base. Style red glandular, straight, to 30 mm, with swollen, bullate, greenish-brownish stigma, to 4.4 mm. Capsule glandular hairy, to 30 mm. Locality of origin: Bita Hai, Zhongdian, Yunnan. Native habitat: W Yunnan, SE Xizang, W Sichuan, China according to Flora of China efloras org.