Tawang Rhododendron
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Tawang Rhododendron
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Tawang Rhododendron, Oleander-Flowered Rhododendron
Botanical name: Rhododendron neriiflorum var. appropinquans    Family: Ericaceae (Blueberry family)
Synonyms: Rhododendron tawangense

Tawang Rhododendron is a variety of Rhododendron neriiflorum found in the Bhutan-Arunachal-Tibet border area, particularly in Tawang. It is a shrub 1-3 m tall with bark gray-brown, usually falling off in flakes. Leaf stalk is 1-1.5 cm long. Leaves are leathery, oblong to obovate, 8-11 cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm wide, tip blunt or rounded with a short point. Underside is glaucous and the upper side is green and smooth. Midrib is prominent on the underside, grooved above. Red bell-shaped flowers are borne in 5-12-flowered loose umbels. Flower-stalks are 1-1.5 cm long, sparsely velvety. Sepal cup is fleshy when well-developed, with 5 sepals , 4-10 mm. Flower-tube is tubular-bellshaped, fleshy, crimson or bright red, 3-4.5 cm, with 5 dark crimson nectar pouches at the base, inside. Petals are 5, rounded, about 1.5 cm, notched. Stamens are 10, unequal, 1.8-2.9 cm. Capsule is cylindric, about 2.2 × 0.5 cm. Flowering: April-May.

Identification credit: Pankaj Kumar Photographed in Tawang district, Arunachal Pradesh.

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