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Rhododendron 'Laetevirens'

Rhododendron 'Laetevirens'

'Laetevirens' is an old cultivar from the early 1900s which came to Mustila about that time. It is a cross between the Carolina rhododendron (R. carolinianum syn. R. minus) and the European Alpine Rose or Rusty Leaved Alpenrose (R. ferrugineum). It was earlier called ‘Wilsoni’ but the name has been changed because there was already another rhododendron of this name.

'Laetevirens' is a scaly rhododendron, one of the so-called lepidotes. It has small leaves with small “spots” on them, visible to the naked eye, which are actually small scales; the leaves are aromatic when rubbed or crushed. 'Laetevirens' is very similar to a hybrid called ‘Puncta’, offered by many nurseries, which has the same parents as 'Laetevirens'.

The small pink flowers open in late June. 'Laetevirens' is slow growing, reaching about a metre in ten years. Because the flowers are rather modest, this cultivar is above all a shrub for foliage, and a beautiful one. This rich foliage caused some confusion over the name at some stage, when 'Laetevirens' was labelled mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) by mistake. Now the right name identifies the right plant both at the south-east edge of Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley) and near Atsalearinne (Azalea Slope).

 

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