An amazing collection of Malaysian Rhododendrons are on display at the Planting Fields Arboretum. They are off in a side room from the Camellias. "This collection contains over 100 plants with approximately 20 species and 80 hybrids."
This display has been created against one of the green house walls in a sloping berm, with large limbs supporting some of the plants which were wrapped in moss and suspended from the branches. Others were directly planted in the prepared soil.
The overall effect of this display is magical and wonderful, almost unbelievable.
The blossoms are stunningly and deeply colored, and sometimes very large in their clusters.
They almost seem too large and full for the branches that support them.
Because they were entwined together, I hope that I recorded the correct label with each plant. Any corrections are welcome.
According to the printed document in this exhibit, "there are over 300 species of Vireya (Rhododendrons) which makes them the largest group in the genus of Rhododendron. Their flowers are very attractive and the most diverse of the genus having a large variance of size, color, and shape."
" There is only one truly unique characteristic of Vireya that sets them apart from other Rhododendrons. They have large cells called Idioblasts in their leaves thought to aid with water holding capacity just under the epidermis. Other characteristics are minute scales on the surface of leaves, seeds with a tail on each end, the ovary-style junction is tapering with the pedicels arising directly from a done-like base forming an umbel."
Here is an example of the way in which the horticulturist hung some of the plants on large limbs.
Here we can see how the berm was shaped and the plants occupy a side alley way in the greenhouse. what a fantastic use of this space.
Again according to the printed explanation, " Most Vireya are native to the Islands of Malaysia along the equator. There are some as far north as Southeast Asia and a couple as far south as Northern Australia."
Other plants leaning on limbs covered with moss. Amazing. Truly a learning experience for me. The information from the exhibits sheet, did not list the author, otherwise I would have given credit to the writer. What a wonderful thing
to see such exotic plants with their stories so close to home. Visit this exhibit soon. Click to enlarge photos.