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Griffith's Rhododendron   
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Griffith's Rhododendron
ative Photo: Pema Bhutia
Common name: Griffith's Rhododendron
Botanical name: Rhododendron griffithianum    Family: Ericaceae (Heath family)
Synonyms: Rhododendron aucklandii, Rhododendron oblongum

Griffith's Rhododendron is a shrub or small tree 1.3-4 m tall, found in E Nepal, Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Flowers are borne in 4- or 5-flowered umbels, with rachis 5-7 cm. Flowers are bell-shaped, pink at first, later white, 5.5-8 cm, hairless. Petals are 5, nearly circular, about 2 x 3.5 cm, notched, stamens 12-18, ovary ovoid, about 7 mm, glandular; style glandular to tip, stigma swollen. Flowers-stalks are hairless, 3.5-4 cm. Sepal structure is cup-shaped, 7-20 mm. Shoots are about 4 mm in diameter below inflorescence, young shoots stout, hairless. Leaf-stalks are stout, 2-3.5 cm, hairless. Leaf blade is leathery, oblong to oblong-elliptic or oblong-ovate, 10-19 x 4.5-12 cm, base rounded or heart-shaped, tip pointed to rounded and apiculate. Underside is hairless, upper surface is green, smooth, midrib prominent below, grooved above, lateral veins 19-24-paired, distinct on both surfaces. Griffith's Rhododendron is found in eastern Himalayas, at altitudes of 2100-2800 m.

Identification credit: Bharat Kumar Pradhan
Photographed near Bakhim, West Sikkim.
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