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Lady Dalhousie Rhododendron   
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Lady Dalhousie Rhododendron
ative Photo: Sanjyoti Subba
Common name: Lady Dalhousie Rhododendron • Nepali: लहारे चिमल Lahare chimal
Botanical name: Rhododendron dalhousieae    Family: Ericaceae (Heath family)
Synonyms: Rhododendron dalhousieae var. dalhousieae, Azalea macrocarpa

Lady Dalhousie Rhododendron was described by Hooker, the botanist who first introduced it in 1850, to be the noblest species of all Rhododendrons. It was named in the honor of Lady Dalhousie, wife of the then Governor-General of India. It is a straggling shrub, 6-8 ft high, growing on rocks or upon the trunks of large trees. The stems are clothed with a reddish papery bark, the branches straggling, patent,whorled, the whorls distant; each branch bearing its leaves and flowers only at the ends. Leaves are few, patent or reflexed, stalked, about 4.5-5 inches in length, elliptical-obovate, somewhat leathery. The upper surface is darkish-green, inclining to a yellow hue, even on the surface, beneath paler, dotted with very minute, scattered, rusty-coloured- scales. Flowers are borne in groups of 3-7 at the ends of branches. The stalk carrying the cluster is nearly an inch long, stout, cylindrical, downy. Flowers are very large, 3.5-4.5 inches long, and as broad at the mouth, bell-shaped, yellowish turning white, with an occasional tinge of rose. Flowers are very fragrant too. Lobes of the limb are nearly equal, very broad, rounded, waved, spreading. Sepal-tube is large, deeply divided almost to the base into five ovate-elliptical, very blunt, spreading, leaf-like sepals.Stamens are ten - filaments longer than the tube, curved upwards, downy below. Anther are oblong-ovate, dark purple-brown. Ovary is ovate, five-celled, tapering into the thickened style, which is longer than the stamens. Stigma is a round, convex disk. Lady Dalhousie Rhododendron is found in Eastern Himalayas, from C. Nepal to Arunachal Pradesh, at altitudes of 2000-2500 m. Flowering: May-June.

Identification credit: Sanjyoti Subba Photographed in Pangthang, Sikkim.

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