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New species of Rhododendron found

Posted by creister z7 TX (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 7, 06 at 10:31

msn.com has an article about a recent expadition to a very remote old growth jungle in New Guinea where this was discovered. I don't post here, as I don't grow the plants discussed here, but I thought it was fascinating that a new species has been discovered.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

Yes, they found an epiphytic rhododendron that grew high in the treetops. They have air roots like some cacti and orchids. It produced large white scented flowers.


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

"the largest rhododendron flower on record -- almost six inches (15 centimeters) across" was found with fragrant white blossoms.

Takeuchi has made a number of new rhododendron discoveries. New Guinea is famous for the wide variety of Vireya rhododendrons found there. They are basically house plants. However, most have smaller flowers.

However, even many of the hardy rhododendrons found in the Himalayan regions of China and Nepal are epiphytic and grow high in tree tops.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Species from New Guinea


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

Rhodyman, how feasible is it to plant epiphytic rhodies as a house plant?


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

Here's a pic.

Here is a link that might be useful: pic of


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 7, 06 at 20:50

shic, these are not care free houseplants for the casual indoor gardener; they'd turn toes up with my heat pump and low humidity. Sharp drainage, resent overpotting. "Vireyas need plenty of light and a cool, humid atmosphere, so they are not suitable as houseplants in centrally heated houses. Greenhouses and conservatories are best. "


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 1:01

Flowers look like those of RR. konori and leucogigas, as I expected they might. There are many vireyas, the other hotspot for rhododendrons is the Sino-Himalayan region. Either area could possibly yield quite a few more species. Plants don't care if we can get to them easily or not. Remote, damp areas with rough topography can conceal many treasures.


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

I am interested in the "hardy" epiphytic rhodies mentioned by Rhodyman. I live on a third floor in Zone 4-5a. The canopy of a mature paper birch touches my north windows. If I put a few these rhodies between the branches, I can enjoy them all year round. Please imagine how cool that is!

I also heard about the biodiversity among the southern slope of the Himalayans. They have many species and subspecies of exotic pheasants, primitive horses, snow leopards, white tigers and rare monkeys. It is also home to a large number of Rhodies and Camellias.

In the book "The Riddle of Golden Camellias", a Japanese explorer documented his trip in the 40s. The team reached an inaccessible forest of golden camellias. He was fascinated by the brilliant blossoms. However, they had to leave shortly and could not find the location in the following trips. I guess we can with GPS.


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

I don't know of anyone that is raising epiphytic rhododendrons out of their native habitat as epiphytes. They are epiphytes at very high elevations in the himalayan mountains.

Here are pictures of the new rhododendron found in New Guinea:

This photo released by Conservation International shows what their scientists suspect to be a new species of Rhododendron (Rhododendron macgregoriae) seen on the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) expedition to the Foya Mountains of Papua province, Indonesia's easternmost Ppua province in December 2005. Scientists discovered a 'Lost World' in an isolated Indonesian jungle, identifying dozens of new species of frogs, butterflies and plants _ as well as large mammals hunted to near extinction elsewhere, members of the expedition said Tuesday.

"Giant White" Rhododendron, a species yet to be described, possibly the largest of any rhododendron species in the world, seen on the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Program expedition to the Foja Mountains in Papua, Indonesia, on the island of New Guinea.(Wayne Takeuchi)

Wayne Takeuchi is a Botanist with PNG Forest Research Insitute, P.O. Box 314, Lae, Morobe, PNG. He also is affiliated with Harvard University.

Here is a link that might be useful: For more info


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 9, 06 at 14:45

Yes: you won't be able to grow rhododendrons in trees in Zone 4. In nature epiphytism of rhododendrons occurs mostly in sodden areas where lots of other flowering plants also grow as epiphytes. Here we do have evergreen huckleberries fairly often growing on trees on the outer coast, but it seems rhododendrons are disinclined to move very far from the ground. Most of our rain falls in winter, but the outer coast also has alot of fog. And I think the trees and shrubs seen growing on other trees here, even in damp forests are usually rooting into debris-filled pockets and crevices in the trunk and main branches, where it may not be much different from growing on a rotting stump or fallen log.


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RE: New species of Rhododendron found

I dont understand what you are saying. We have wet and cold climate all year round. The paper birch has a large squirrel hole with dirt in it. Some growers have reported good results on cultivating vireyas from windowsills of high rise flats. I think it is possible. What an exotic garden design idea! Also, I think huckleberries have quite different parasitic roots.


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