Purpureum Elegans - selection or hybrid?

misternoodleyJanuary 13, 2013

I'm looking for a purple native rhododendron or azalea (not so important to me that it be evergreen), and I'm trying to figure out if Purpureum Elegans is a catawbiense selection or a hybrid of catawba and something exotic. Gotten mixed signals on various sites although the majority call it a selection.

Anyone know any background on it or a reliable resource to consult?

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lycopus(z5 NY)

It is a Donald Waterer hybrid. He made numerous crosses among R. catawbiense, R. ponticum, R. arboreum, and R. caucasicum. What the actual parents are of 'purpureum elegans' may be impossible to figure out without DNA testing. The following link doesn't mention this selection specifically but will give you an idea of how he went about creating cultivars.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rhododendrons and Azaleas at the Knap Hill Nursery

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Ugh, that's disappointing. Guess I'm sticking with Lee's Dark.

Very much appreciate the info, lycopus. Thanks for taking the time.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:29AM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Lee's Dark is likely a hybrid as well. If you want a wild type plant you might need to find a native plant nursery that sells it. Not that there's anything wrong with hybrids but wild type might have a better chance of naturalizing.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 3:25PM
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