Rhododendron polyanthemum


New Vireya Display

'Gardens by the Bay', Singapore - © Neil Puddey
In mid-2012, Australian nurseryman Neil Puddey supplied over 850 vireya plants to the 'Gardens by the Bay' in Singapore to form the backbone of a new display in the Cloud Forest Conservatory. Just a few months after shipping the plants, Neil took a trip over to Singapore to see how the plants were faring in their new home. See Neil's photos of his visit here.

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New Addition to the Archive

The latest article to be added to the Archive appeared only recently in Rhododendron Species 2011, the yearbook of the Rhododendron Species Foundation. Written by your editor, 'An Early History of Vireya: The People, Places, and Plants of the Nineteenth Century' is an attempt to chronologically record the discovery and description of vireya rhododendrons - from the first, Rhododendron malayanum found by William Jack in Sumatra in 1821, through to the end of the 19th century, and looks at some of the people behind the plants.

Two New Vireya Species Named

Two new species in Subgenus Vireya have been described by Dr George Argent of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in the past year - Rhododendron atrichum from Sarawak, Borneo and Rhododendron trancongii from Vietnam.

Rhododendron atrichum (Section Euvireya) was previously known as Rhododendron verticillatum forma velutinum however further study of herbarium material, in tandem with examination of living material flowering under this name at RBGE, showed differences in the flower bud morphology and the lack of simple hairs on the leaves, sufficient to warrant publication as a new species.

At the same time, a new subspecies has been described - Rhododendron atrichum ssp. dendrolepis - which differs from ssp. atrichum in having shortly dendroid scales on the leaves.

The full description of Rhododendron atrichum ssp. atrichum and ssp. dendrolepis can be found in the Journal of the American Rhododendron Society, Vol.63, No.3, Summer 2009.

Rhododendron trancongii (Section Pseudovireya) bears small yellow flowers and is similar to Rhododendron rushforthii, differing most visibly in its dull green leaves with red petioles and the deep red colouration exhibited by new foliage. R. trancongii is also distinguished by the lack of simple hairs on the ovary and the scales mixed with simple hairs on the bract margins as compared to R. rushforthii.

The full description of Rhododendron trancongii was published in Rhododendrons, Camellias & Magnolias 2010, the yearbook of the Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group of the Royal Horticultural Society.

New Photographs

Rhododendron 'Uluru' - © K. & G. Hagan
Several batches of excellent photographs have been submitted to vireya.net since our last Update - our thanks to everyone who sent them in. They will all be appearing here over the coming months but we start with a selection of pictures from Kaye and Gordon Hagan.

Kaye and Gordon grow a huge range of vireya cultivars in their garden in Tasmania, Australia, including the magnificent Rhododendron 'Uluru', right.

Click here to see all the latest images.

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Earlier news items of note can be found in the News Archive