Rhododendron alutaceum var. iodes
Syn: R. iodes
Epithet: like soft leather; rust-coloured.
AM 1978 (Borde Hill) 'White Plains'; flowers white with red-purple spots
AM 1980 (Borde Hill) 'Easter Island'; flowers white with dorsal red spots
Shrub or rarely small tree 0.6-5m high.
Flowers: 8-18/truss, campanulate, 25-35mm long, white or white suffused with rose.
Leaves: lanceolate, oblanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 50-120 x 10-33mm, upper surface dark green, shiny, glabrous; lower surface covered with a somewhat thick, compact felty, rust or cinnamon-coloured or brown (young leaves greenish-yellow) continuous, bistrate indumentum of hairs, upper layer not detersile.
Distribution: SE Tibe, NW Yunnan. 3350-4300m.
John McQuire considers it "so unlike R. alutaceum in many characteristics that he gave it a full species definition in his and Mike's Pocket Guide. R iodes has closer affinities to R. roxieanum and has often been mistaken for it."
In the Cox Dictionary they say that "var. iodes is intermediate between var. alutaceum and var. russotinctum and merges with both."
Photo: Russell Beeson