Rhododendron ponticum ‘Daphnifolium’ (maybe Daphnoides?)• Rhododendron

Rhododendron • シャクナゲ • 石楠花 • shakunage

It’s a large bush with large purplish flowers in June; sits in area G, closer to the fence, but well visible from the path – it blooms later in the rhodie season and attracts attention with its vivid color.



SJG • 6/21/12 – Rhododendron ponticum ‘Daphnifolium’ • Rhododendron;
Area G – bush above, flower below – corolla purplish, blooms June

I can’t find anything about this type of rhododendron on the web, all searches direct to this blog only; Rhododendron Society of America doesn’t have it listed, and neither does Seattle Rhododendron Society.  But it does exist: found it on a list of rare and threatened plant species, maintained by Botanic Garden Conservation International (position #13), but no info on the plant – the website has ‘sent info request’ and I filled it out; will post if answer arrives {aleks 3/16/13}

The answer arrived promptly, on 18 Mar 2013, from…. UW,  which holds database for the plants  established in SJG when it was managed by UW, and before it became part of the Seattle City park system. Keith’s answer is rather hilarious to read – it suggests that probably a mistake was made in 1951 and it persisted, without many clues on how to fix it now or ever:

Hi Aleksandra,

I see what you have on your blog, and I’m afraid it all circles around to the same plant(s).

It looks like we have the only plant under this name in the BGCI database – and I’m having trouble validating the name.

this is from WPA accession #81-51, rec’d in 1951 as one plant (12″ tall), from Lester Brandt of Puyallup. Our other specimen is in grid 11-7E, at the head of Rhododendron Glen. The plant in Area G is probably from a cutting. Also the green label saying 81-57 is a typo. We’ll fix that.

Looking further at the name, there’s a chance that Brandt meant ‘Daphnoides’ as listed in Greer’s Guidebook, 3rd ed. p. 114. The foliage description there seems to fit, but that clone has “deep purple” trusses rather than the lighter color shown in your photos. There’s also a chance that Brandt grew this from a seedling; he did many of his own crosses. I’ve gleaned all that I can from the card and the accession book. The correspondence file, while fascinating, doesn’t hold any additional clues. The problem with ‘Daphnoides’ is that it’s a mid-19th century cultivar and there could be numerous seedlings circulating under that name. We would have to compare our plants against a reference plant of ‘Daphnoides’ – assuming it’s in the trade or someone in SRS can track it down.

Also, I think that someone in SRS surely must know more about Lester Brandt; all I know has been inferred / conjectured from our records. But here’s a link with more about him: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JARS/v25n3/v25n3-hacanson.htm


Keith Ferguson
Registrar, Plant Records Office
Washington Park Arboretum
UW Botanic Gardens
University of Washington

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