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Rhododendron 'Tiuku' (R. catawbiense var. compactum × williamsianum)

Among the rarer rhododendrons this so far unnamed cross is one of the finest but at the same time least known. The original shrub, which grew in the larch wood on Atsalearinne (Azalea Slope), has been buried by the rich undergrowth. Fortunately it was reproduced by cuttings before this and the resulting plants were placed near the Tigerstedt family graves, where they are thriving. Beautifully rounded in shape, they spend the winters under snow cover and bloom almost every year in late May with pink bell-shaped flowers, before most of the other large-flowered rhododendrons. The leaves are almost round and reddish when they open in spring, as might be expected from such a cross.

One of the parents is the Chinese William’s rhododendron (R. williamsianum), which is tender in the Finnish climate, but it has been much used in crossings throughout the world because of its bell-like flowers, round leaves and low habit. The other parent, the Catawba rhododendron (R. catawbiense), contributes improved hardiness. The same parents have produced the varieties ‘Boccia’, ‘Minas Grand Pre’, and ‘Vater Böhlje’, the last two also growing in Finland.