Rhododendron • Rhododendron / Azalea • シャクナゲ / ツツジ • 石楠花 / 躑躅 • shakunage / tsutsuji
I spent quite a bit of time searching the internet and trying to figure out why some azaleas in our Garden have letter+numbers combination instead of some ‘real’ names, but came out with nothing, except that taxonomic changes within genus rhododendron might have something to do with it: the era of molecular analysis in 1980 and 1990s had them labeled into classes A, B, C, but our azaleas are probably older than that classification + we also have an odd azalea labelled as S-1-G… So, no answer why numbers instead of names.
Putting the term ‘Rhododendron B-44829’ into a search engine brings up only one identical match: the PDF of our own Plant List on Parks Department website with the same plant listed. No list of rhodies that I checked on different websites seem to have azaleas with combo of letters and numbers; so for now I’m putting them in the same mental place as the B612 – the name of the asteroid/planet from which Saint-Exupéry’s young alien prince fallen to Earth. Do those B+number ‘names’ have a secret meaning?
Rhododendron/azalea B-44829 grows at the south tip of Area Z, on the corner where connecting path and the service road meet.
Since there is nothing I can link to regarding this particular azalea, here is an interesting read from Azalea Society of America on describing azaleas: […] Azalea varieties have a wide variation of flower size, shape, form and color, which adds to their interest. The variations are also used to identify different azalea varieties, in terms of their flower parts […]
I particularly like the part on describing Japanese azaleas color patterns, as we have many such azaleas in our Garden:
[…] Some azaleas, particularly the Satsuki azaleas, may exhibit all of these variations on the same plant. Cuttings from a branch with a particular variation tend to produce plants with primarily that variation. Cuttings from a branch with striped or sectored patterns produce plants that eventually show all the color variations.
The Japanese value these variations highly, and have named over 20 different variations.
# Pattern name Translation Explanation / Example flowers
1 Shiromuji solid white no pattern Hakurei, Hakatajiro, Benigasa
2 Akamuji solid red no pattern Kazan, Taishonishiki
in 11b Jiai pale, in between color Nikko, Yama-No-Hikari, Bunka
3 Sokojiro white throat red or purple flower with the white […]