Emu Valley Newsletter – May 2016
Rhododendron commonae by Maurie
Back in the late eighties when we had cleared the blackberries and under growth from the proposed vireya section at Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden we planted a number of species and hybrid vireyas to test if the site was going to be suitable.
R. commonae was amongst those first planted and it has grown well ever since, producing tubular curved deep red flowers irregularly several times a year. R. commonae comes to us from Papua New Guinea where, in its native state, it is found growing in grassland at the edge of conifer forests on Mt. Hagen and many other mountains in the area. In the wild they can grow to 6 metres but here our sturdy plants reach no more than a metre. Their leaves are elliptic and are arranged in loose pseudo-whorls with the flowers produced at the tip of the branches. While deep red forms are usually found, three colour forms are in cultivation; deep red, pink and pale yellow.
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