Leaves: membranaceous, oblong, obscurely undulate. Flowers: from separate one-to-three flowered, lateral, scaly, cone-like buds below the leaves; calyx five-parted, the divisions more or less foliaceous; corolla five-lobed; filaments bearded at the base, open-campanulate; stamens ten; style peltate, five-lobed.
This is one of the most beautiful flowering shrubs found growing on the highest mountains.
" Oh, the windings up and down That the dizzy pathway took! Now along the craggy bed Of a sun-dried mountain brook; Now along a ledge that led By a chasm's crumbling brink, Dropping deep and sheer away Through the golden Syrian day To the dreamy blur of pink.
Mountain Rhododendron (Rhododendron albiiiorum)
That the oleanders made, - Here in sun, and there in shade. Up, and up, and up we went, While, a spacious azure tent, Arabesqued with morn, the sky Hung above us radiantly."
Had the poet who penned these lovely lines referred to
. . . the creamy blur of white That the rhododendrons made, his verses would as fitly have described the finding of the exquisite waxen bells of the Mountain Rhododendron as that of "The dreamy blur of pink That the oleanders made," for it is on the most inaccessible ledges, and close to the great slopes of eternal snow, that the oblong glossy green leaves of this alpine shrub gleam brightly in the sunshine of the July days, and the slim, stiff, brown stems bear aloft clustering circles of pure white flowers, holding within their chalice-cups the ten pale yellow stamens and the style. The edges of the foliage are slightly wavy, the calyx is five-parted, each division resembling a small leaf, and the corolla is bell-shaped and cut into five rounded lobes. The buds are scaly and cone-like.