Your paragraph upon Rhododendron punctatum, in the Gardeners' Chronicle for June 9, in which the species is mentioned as " a compact grower, of dwarf habit, producing an abundance of pink, funnel-shaped flowers," and suggesting that it would be worth while for hybridists to turn their attention to it, leads me to ask whether hybridists may not already have taken it in hand. I would inquire whether there may not still linger some tradition relative to such crossing. The following are the reasons for the inquiry. Rhododendron punctatum in its native habitat (in the mountains of Carolina and Georgia, and descending along some of the rivers into the middle country) is not a dwarf species, being commonly 4 to 6 feet high, and is the opposite of "a compact grower;" it forms a spreading bush, and has slender, lithe, diffuse or recurving branches, especially when grown in open ground; on the rocky banks which it naturally affects, it has a straggling habit. The flower, indeed, may be called "funnel-shaped," but with a widely open limb, not so open as in the figure in Bot. Reg., t. 37, which I suspect belongs to R. Catawbiense, but nearly as in the earliest figure and description of the species, in Andrews' Bot. Rep., t. 36 (" corolla rotato-infundibuliformis, blossom of a rounded funnel shape "), at least as much so as in the next earliest figure, in Ventenat, Hort. Cels., t. 15. The figure in Bot. Mag., t. 2285, has a widely open corolla.

The only other figure that I know of is a poor one in Watson's Dendrologia, t. 162, and this evidently represents the plant now cultivated in England as R. punctatum, and to which your remarks refer. This erect shrub, of compact habit and narrowly funnel-form corollas, we have from Watson under this name, also a paler flowered and in other respects slightly different form of it as R. ovatum. It hardly exceeds 2 feet in height, has leaves only half as large as those of the true R. punctatum, more rigid and more lepidote, and the corolla-lobes are only about half the length of the narrow tube, which is also more lepidote. I suppose that your R. punctatum is a hybrid of that species with the alpine R. ferrugineum, and that the crossing may have given the complete hardiness in England which the original was said to lack; yet the latter is fairly hardy here. There is one reason for distrusting my theory - that your Rhododendron is a hybrid - which is, that my R. Chapmani, from sandy Pine barrens near the coast of Western Florida, has a corolla of similar shape, and an equally upright habit of growth. But, besides some other differences, this has larger flowers and exserted stamens and style.

In conclusion, let me recommend the re-introduction of the original R. punctatum into English cultivation, as a contrast to the one you possess, and to all our other species, on account of its open, light and graceful habit. - Asa Gray, Cambridge, Mass., in Gardeners' Chronicle.