Rhododendron • シャクナゲ • 石楠花 • shakunage
Edit 3/31/17 – unfortunately this fragrant rhododendron was removed last year due to disease
This very fragrant rhododendron greets visitors right after the entrance gate, Area B, left of the path:
From Rosebay, by Elizabeth Carlhian, Concord, MA:
R. fortunei is in Subsection Fortunea and is named after Robert Fortune, 1812-1880. Fortune was an extremely successful British plant collector with a very good eye for exceptional plant material. Fortune, a skilled gardener, was the superintendent of the Hothouse department of the Horticultural Society’s gardens at Chiswick, outside London. When hostilities between Britain and China ceased after the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the opportunity to collect in China became possible and the Society decided to send a collector to Asia. Fortune applied for the position and was accepted. Between 1843 and 1862, he made four trips to China and Japan and wrote four books about his travels.
[…] The plant is open, upright and tree-like, up to 20 feet tall. Leaves are 3-7 inches, oblong to oblong-elliptic; dark matte green and glabrous above, paler with scattered, minute hairs or glands below. The flowers occur in trusses of 6-12 flowers, 1-2 inches long, with seven lobes, broadly funnel-campanulate, rose, lilac pink or pink and deliciously fragrant. […]