Rhododendron ‘Sanderi Mars’ • Azalea

Rhododendron Rhododendron / Azalea  •  シャクナゲ / ツツジ  •  石楠花 / 躑躅    shakunage / tsutsuji

The more I try to find out about rhododendrons in SJG, the more I learn that often they are NOT firmly locked  in some taxonomy tables that I simply didn’t crack open yet (or so I hoped).  Some of their names pop out from the internet search engines fine, but other varieties  turn out to be fleeting crosses of now forgotten sub-species, sometimes long out of the commercial market, and not written about anymore, unless one is willing to search the archives of botanical publications and dig into semi-related topics.

Such was the fate of Rh. ‘Sanderi Mars’, 7 of which grow in SJG (one on the first shortcut on the East side of the Garden, and 6 on the West side, in the Tea House Garden around Machiai):  zero returns on first searches, until an article from 1952 of Quarterly Bulletin of the ARS caught my eye; it was titled ‘WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE SANDER HYBRID AZALEAS?’  Yeah, what has happened? Sigh, snippets from the article below pics.

BTW, the flowers in area F and W are identical vivid red – I carried one from Tea House Garden to F area and compared them side by side – different light makes them look not quite the same color in the pics below.


SJG • 5/17/13 – Rhododendron ‘Sanderi Mars’ • Azalea, Area F, on the 1st shortcut, near water


SJG • 5/17/13 – Rhododendron ‘Sanderi Mars’ • Azalea, Area W – this is a view of 2 of them behind Roji hedge, as you stroll south on the W path; if you look closer you fill find 4 more around Machiai – the waiting area of the Tea House Garden.


SJG • 5/17/13 – Rhododendron ‘Sanderi Mars’ • Azalea, Area F and W; corolla carmine pink, hose-in-hose (flower-in-the-flower, see explanation below)

• From Quarterly Bulletin of the American Rhododendron Society, October, 1952 (electronically stored at Virginia Tech):  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE SANDER HYBRID AZALEAS?  by Thomas Wheeldon, Richmond, Virginia

The Sander hybrids were described by E. H. Wilson as a race of beautiful azaleas of compact twiggy habit with flowers from 2.5 cm. to 4.5 cm. in diameter in varying shades of rose-pink, salmon, red, scarlet and fiery crimson. They are the result of hybrids obtained from crosses of Rhododendron simsii Garnet with Rhododendron obtusum Planchon being crossed with Rhododendron obtusum f. album and later ‘Hinodegiri’. It is probable that the Indian azalea ‘Decora’ was a parent of R. ‘Garnet’. […]

It seems inconceivable that a group of some nineteen or more clones listed as late as 1921 by Wilson should have so nearly disappeared. At that time Wilson said of these “…it needs no expert knowledge to predict for X R. ‘Sanderi’ a great future.” Such, however, seems to be the case.
The following are probably among the best forms: […] ‘Mars’, intense scarlet […]

• About hose-in hose concept (for a different flower, primula, but the same idea):
Originally, this flower variant was given the name Hose-in-Hose because the form of the flower is reminiscent of the way some Elizabethan gentlemen used to wear their stockings, one inside the other with the outer stocking turned down. The origin of the name gives us an idea of the antiquity of this type of Primula and in fact John Gerard makes the first recorded mention of a Hose-in-Hose flower, in his 1597 herbal. Parkinson also mentions the variant and illustrates it in his ‘Paradisi in Sole’ in 1629.
– Described by Simon Crawford of Heronswood Nursery website about the hose in hose form of a Primula. On Heronswood Nursery see The Morning Call article form 2007.

• On Sander hybrids from Sonoma Horticultural Nursery (great info there on all kinds of hybrids):   […]—–SANDER HYBRIDS
Developed around 1885 in Massachusetts from some of the first evergreen azaleas to be introduced to the U.S. Many are now lost. The ‘HEXE’ cross was also done in Austria at the same time, where it was used extensively as a stock plant to graft Indidan Azaleas. […]

• I was looking for info on Mr. Sander, perhaps the first hybridizer of those type of azaleas?  Discovered nothing, except that there is a Madame Alfred Sander Belgian Indian Hybrid Azalea (the result of crosses between many different species, you do not want to know more), and nothing about the mystical Alfred himself… Oh, well, at least he had a good sense to immortalize his Madame.


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2 Responses to Rhododendron ‘Sanderi Mars’ • Azalea

  1. Frances says:

    I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your website.
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    Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is
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    • sjgbloom2012 says:

      thank you for bringing it to my attention, and sorry for this happening to you, Frances. i will check on few other browsers, but you could too, by for instance trying to open it on library computer or other than that you are using. please let me know. aleks

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