Rhododendron • シャクナゲ • 石楠花 • shakunage
We have three rhododendrons keiskei in SJG, all well visible right after the garden entrance: one in area C – immediately to the right of the main path, between the gate and yukimidoro lantern (a compact, densely covered in bloom, pruned round), and two other, sitting next to each other in area B, best seen from the connector path between areas B and Z – one of them is pruned round and the other kept in more free form.
They bloom early spring here in Seattle (early April this year, 2013, and same last 2 years), different shades of cream/yellow – some more pale, almost white blooms, the other almost yellow.
Hiroko, asked to to confirm the Rh. keiskei ID information, wrote this about the plant and its name: You might want to look at website about Rhod. keiskei in hirsutum website. It is www.hirsutum.info/rhododendron/species/detail.php?id=742. It even has a picture of Mr. Keisuke Ito whom this species is named after. The reason I looked into keiske species is that I always wondered the spelling of the species. I knew it must be after person’s name of Keisuke, but I always see it spelled Keiske. Consonants in Japanese language are always followed by vowels. Mr. Keisuke Ito’s name in the website spells correctly Keisuke not Keiske. I presume whoever gave the species name first misspelled his name, and it is stuck ever since.
Interesting description of this plant on the Rosebay.org site: The specific epithet ‘keiskei’ commemorates the Japanese botanist Ito Keisuke (1803-1900). It is native to mountainous regions of central to southern Japan, in rocky situations at elevations of 2,000 to 6,000 feet. In the southernmost part of its range (Yakushima) it occasionally is epiphytic.
R. keiskei is a lepidote (scaly) rhododendron, quite variable in habit. Taller forms can reach as much as 10 feet, with a loose, open habit; at the other extreme is var. ozawae (formerly var. cordifolia) and its cultivar ‘Yaku Fairy’, which forms a dense, spreading mound, barely 6 inches tall and 2 feet across. Foliage is also variable in shape and size (1 to 3 inches long), olive green to medium dark green. Flowers are 1 to 1 1/2 inches across, pale yellow to lemon yellow, in trusses of 2 to 6 flowers, produced in early midseason (second to third week of May in the Boston area).