The Golfer's IndumentumMonday, July 17, 2017
Rhododendrons have a great reputation in my city of Vancouver because they thrive in our cool and rainy weather. Some Rhododendrons do not like harsh direct sunlight.
Many of the rhododendrons here have lurid colour of red, orange and shocking pink. Those colours seemed to be the only available until Nixon went to China and the subsequent opening of the forbidden kingdom.
There are rhododendrons with other colours and quite a few that have scent. One of my faves Rhododendron decorum has white flowers that smell of ripe watermelon.
After their burst of flowers in the spring rhododendrons can be boring. But that should not be the case. Many have interesting leaves with indumentum. This is a covering of little hairs, fuzzy at times like the inner ear of a cat. The indumentum can be on the bottom side of leaves and it is then called tomentum.
In years past I used to take my then young granddaughter Rebecca to the rhododendron walks in VanDusen and at the UBC Botanical garden and I taught her to rub the underside of rhododendron leaves. She was charmed.
Not too long ago I visited my plantsman friend Alleyne Cook and his wife Barbara (a plantswoman) at their garden in North Vancouver. I spotted an interesting smallish rhododendron (notice how I avoid that ugly word rhodo) with an almost white tomentum. I asked him what it was. He replied, “Golfer.” I asked again and he repeated himself. I asked again and he finally shouted (with his New
Zealand accent, “Golfer!” I got the message.
Golfer now grows in our small Kitsilano garden. Here it is sporting its lovely leaves.
|The underside has a very soft tomentum.|