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The Rhododendron species.

Interest in rhododendrons has grown quickly in the past two or three years, at least judging by the number of new and updated books on the subject. The Rhododendron Species, by H.H. Davidian (Timber Press, Beaverton, Ore., 1982; $59.95), is yet another major book that should be an asset to any grower of rhododendron species.

Subtitled Volume I, Lepidotes, the book covers the scaly (lepidote) rhododendrons, which include about half of all species, including those Maddenii kinds that flourish in the California fog belt.

Mr. Davidian displays a strong sense of history and a tremendous store of knowledge about rhododendron species--not surprising when you consider the number of years he's been working with them. In 1947, he and Dr. J.M. Cowan revised The Species of Rhododendron, which for decades was the last work on the subject.

The new 421-page volume opens with a general introduction, a history of rhododendron species collection and when they were introduced, and technical notes (such as the glossary and drawings of leaf and scale types). There is also a list of species and a key to rhododendron series, but the heart of the book is an encyclopedic listing of species by series.

Mr. Davidian tells precisely when and where each species was discovered, who collected it, and how it grows throughout its native range. If a species is in cultivation, he tells how it does in the garden.

Of the 95 color photographs in this 8-3/4- by 11-1/2-inch book, 74 show rhododendron flowers close up; the remainder show rhododendrons growing wild in their native habitat, or in collections in private gardens. A 13-page synopsis in the back of the book lists rhododendron species and their characteristics (flower color, hardiness, and month of flowering).
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1985
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