Rhododendron hongkongensis

Though Hong Kong is small in size, it’s home to some of the most diverse and exotic flora there is in the world. The Rhododendron Hongkongensis, for example, was first discovered in 1851 but acknowledged as a new species in 1930. Also referred to as Hong Kong Azalea, these flowering shrubs bloom during the spring with light red to white flowers appearing; indeed, a beautiful and lovely sight to behold.

Classification of Rhododendron

Derived from the Greek words ‘rodon’ and ‘dendron’ meaning rose and tree respectively, these shrubs are conspicuously considered to be the best flowering evergreen shrubs. They grow under temperate climates, preferably under tress.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Sub Kingdom: Tracheobionta
  • Super Division: Spermatophyta
  • Division: Magnoliopsida
  • Sub Class: Dilleniidae
  • Order: Ericales
  • Family: Ericaceae
  • Genus: Rhododendron

Cultivating Rhododendrons

These plants are slow-growing and can do well in acidic soil with the pH of 4.5-6.0. Rhododendrons can extend their roots up to twelve inches deep. Ensure you place them at a higher level to get enough aeration. These plants grow under moist well-drained soil and not wet soil. Waterlogged soil can prove to be its killer. Azaleas are twiggy and can grow to a height of up to 8 feet with spreading bushes. Apply compost under the shrub while spreading it to the dripline.

Interesting facts about the Rhododendron Hongkongensis

  1. Rhododendron Hongkongensis are generally evergreen but are deciduous.
  2. Rhododendron Hongkongensis have five stamens with small, tubular elliptical leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers at its ends.
  3. Hong Kong Azaleas produce an array of fragrant blossoms in different colors that range from red and purple pastels to pure light and white.

You can find Rhododendron Hongkongensis in Ma On Shan or through the exhibitions during the Ma On Shan Festival that has been happening since 2004. Note that though known for their elegant beauty, these flowers are extremely toxic and shouldn’t, in any case, be consumed since they contain andromedotoxins.