The RHS Plant Finder (online version) has 3829 records for the genus
Rhododendron (including 767 for Azalea). On the one hand this will
include some synonyms, but on the other hand there will be Rhododendrons
that exist, but aren't present in Plant Finder. (Elsewhere on the RHS
web site I find a reference to 850 species and 25,000 cultivars.)
Given that your father's passion was Rhododendrons then it's at least
possible that he collected some of the less well known forms.
Consequently it's unlikely that you would find a book illustrating them
all, and even if you did you may not be able to distinguish them from
the pictures. (I've got photographs of probably nearer 300 than 200
forms of Rhododendron; I can't tell them all part.)
Did he have records of what he has? If you have a list of names it would
be easier to associate names with plants. You could even Google for
images, rather than look for a book.
Also, try http://www.rhododendron.org
If you mention what type of Rhododendrons he grew - large-flowered
hybrids? "alpine" rhododendron? Azaleas? someone may be able to offer a
more focused reference.
Steward a question.
Years ago I saw a rhododendron with very simple flower. Was red and
about half the size of our tree peonies. This was in a formal garden on
South Carolina USA. We were tired and left with no identification.
Regretted not able to follow up and it sort of haunts me still. 20
years latter. I guess the question is what rhododendron has simple
Fingers crossed for a hint!
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
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You don't say whether the flower or the plant was half the size of the
tree paeonies, whether the flowers were crimson or scarlet or RGB red or
some other shade, and what you mean by a very simple flower.
Being the Rhododendron photographing season, I can cite a few
red-flowered rhododendrons off the top of my head - barbatum, fulgens,
mallotum, thomsonii, some forms of arboreum, 'May Day', 'Elizabeth',
'Rubicon', 'Taurus', 'W.F.H.', 'Brittania', 'Ascot Brilliant', 'Scarlet
Wonder', 'Bengal', 'Baden-Baden', 'Choremia', 'Fire Tail', probably
'Fire Bird', 'Lord Roberts', 'Mars', 'Matador', 'Portia',
'Russellianum', 'Souvenir of Dr. S. Endtz', 'The Hon. Jean Marie de
Montague' and whatever I've missed. That's not including assorted
deciduous azaleas, dwarfs such as 'Nico' and deep pinks which you might
There's no doubt many red rhododendrons that I've never seen (at least
with labels). For example I've never seen a labelled specimen of
Rhododendron catawbiense, but I find that it has a red-flowered cultivar
- 'Nova Zembla'. That's a plant which might well be found in a South
Rhododendron thomsonii has shorter stamens and style, is less
zygomorphic than many species, and lacks the markings that many
Rhododendrons have on their upper petals, so this might count as a
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