The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
The conservation of Rhododendron vaseyi is fully sponsored.
Irina Kadis contributed to this Plant Profile.
Rhododendron vaseyi is a deciduous, upright narrow shrub that can grow to 5 meters in height with appealing erect branches (Wilson and Rehder 1921, Cox 1990) Its root system is compact and shallow. Scentless, pinkish white flowers begin blooming in April and are thought to attract hummingbirds (Radford et al. 1968, Dirr 1998, Hightshoe 1988, Foote and Jones 1994).
This peculiar endemic of the Blue Ridge was found in 1878 in western North Carolina by G. R. Vasey, son of the government botanist, G. Vasey, and named after its discoverer (Bensley 2002). The first plant was acquired for cultivation by the Arnold Arboretum in 1880.
Distribution & Occurrence
- North Carolina
R. vaseyi grows in mountain ravines, swamps, bogs, banks of streams, coniferous and oak forests at high elevations (3,000-5,500 ft) (Foote and Jones 1994). R. vaseyi appears to spread to clearings at places where the forest overstory has been logged. Therefore, logging does not constitute an immediate threat.
It was once found in the wild in Massachusetts, near Halifax, where it appeared to be naturalized on the territory of an abandoned nursery in a swamp as well as on sandy soil. (Wilson and Rehder 1921).
|Individual numbers are unknown.|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Bog drainage results in total destruction of habitats.
Amateur gardeners and nurserymen illegally collect plants from the wild, which is one mor
Cultivars: 'White find' is originating from a wild-collected form with white flowers. Another form with white flowers, f. album, was found among seedlings grown at the Arnold Arboretum and also at Kew Gardens and was used for the cultivar 'Album'. 'Suva' has pink flowers.
Apparently, R. vaseyi does not hybridize and stays stable when grown from seed. Propagation from seed: sow into milled Sphagnum, maintain humidity under cover, water carefully. Seedlings are tiny and growing slowly. Put them a few per pot first, to reduce the risk of overwatering; repot once they achieve sufficient size.
Propagation from softwood cuttings: take cuttings in May-June, keep them under fog or mist in 50/50 sand-perlite. With 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA or H # 3 treatment, the rooting rate is 70-80%. Cuttings become more secure once they survive through the first winter.