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Rhododendron oreodoxa var. fargesii

Rhododendron oreodoxa var. fargesii - Père Farges rhododendron

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This variety is named after the French missionary and plant collector Paul Farges, who collected in China 1892-1903, finding numerous species new to the west in the north-east of Sichuan province.

Père Farges rhododendron is tree-like in habit, with a straight trunk of several metres and few branches below the crown. The smallish oval blue-green leaves roll themselves into cylinders in frost or drought, preventing loss of valuable moisture. This means that it is fairly hardy in Finnish conditions. However, in its native habitat it has adapted to a continental climate with clear demarcation between the seasons, so it often starts its growth too early in the spring in Finland, where late frosts can destroy the opening flowers in late April-early May

This tendency for early growth means that Père Farges rhododendron should be planted in a cool shady spot under a protective tree canopy. Plants of several different provenances have been introduced at Mustila since the late 1900s, with varying success.

 

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