Rhododendron pachytrichum has an eye-catching leaf pattern. This native of Sichuan and Yunnan is in bed 122 and was planted in 1983. The species name pachytrichum means ‘with thick hair.' [A 'pachyderm', meaning 'elephant', has thick skin.] Young shoots are covered with brown curly hairs that spread to the leaf petiole, while the lower surface of its oblong leaves are hairy on the midrib. It has large pale pink flowers in spring.
Flower photo by Hans Elberg, http://www.rhododendron.org/descriptionS_taxon.asp?ID=273
Other photos and text by Hughie Jones