Emu Valley Newsletter – April 2017
R. phaeochitum is one of our more reliable and most striking of vireya rhododendrons, producing pink curved flowers usually in summer and again in winter. Originating from the highlands of Papua New Guinea where it forms a shrub one metre or more in height the plants here at Emu Valley have grown well with some attaining a height of more than two metres. One of these plants started life as a cutting planted into a section of man fern (Dicksonia antarctica). It now stands over two metres tall, flowers very well and shows no sign of slowing down. It can also be moved to any area in the garden that suits its charm. The branches and leaves of R. phaeochitum are densely covered with brown stellate scales which add to its appeal. These scales usually disappear from the upper surface in time but the whole plant has a sandpaper roughness to the foliage. Our picture shows pink flowers but red and cream flowers have been recorded with the cream ones being quite spectacular with the brown foliage.