Rhododendron falconeri

This is perhaps the most impressive of all the rhododendron species I encountered during my travel in Bhutan.

Not because it was such a huge specimen, it was in fact a young bush which made these flowers accessible to me, as mature plants have their inflorescences too high to reach.
Not because it had such enormous leaves with the most amazing brown velvet on the underside.
Not because the flowers are strikingly white, with a tint of cream.

But because these incredibly beautiful flowers produce a scent so sweet, so intoxicating and exuberant, that you simply cannot stop sniffing them and exhale a with grateful hwoaaaow!

I wonder why so few stop with their eyes when their nose will add such an incredible dimension and make you remember the encounter for the rest of your life!

I’ve not found any of the scientific sources mention scent, they are all visual in their approach. Only when I browse through garden literature and those collecting and cultivating rhododendrons do I see some have a listing for fragrance. Strangely this species is listed with both faint fragrance and none – go figure!

I might have encountered a variance or a cross-breed, but think that this is a wild specimen growing in a location where its properties are at its maximum potential. In poorer locales the scent might be much fainter as it does not receive its requirements to the fullest.

This large leaved rhododendron looks very similar to rhododendron grande, but the grande has red stigma opposed to the green of this one.

When you are attracted to a flower visually, greet it with your nose and inhale – it will be a much more intimate experience!

Elevation: 2868 meters

Native range is central and eastern Himalaya to Myanmar.

Rhododendron falconeri

Rhododendron falconeri

Rhododendron falconeri

Last updated on 10 April 2023