Identification: Which is the real 'May Day'?

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by wcutler, May 24, 2020.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    In this thread: Appreciation: - Two Rhododendrons with a coloured calyx, I posted a rhododendron with red flowers with a red calyx, and called it 'May Day', because the photo in the Park Board's https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/ted-and-mary-greig-garden-50-rhododendrons-of-interest.pdf document was too small to see the calyx but it otherwise fit the description:
    ‘May Day’ is another heavy bloomer. For most of the month of May, true to its name, ‘May Day’ will be a curtain of red, its tubular-campanulate flowers drooping in dense fan-like trusses. This plant also features attractive matte green leaves that have thick, fuzzy, cinnamon brown indumentum on their undersides. ‘May Day’ has a rather dishevelled habit, and will grow wider than it will tall.​

    Also, I saw photos of 'May Day' with a colour calyx, like this photo from Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park, England:
    File:Rhododendron 'May Day Good Form' - Savill Garden - Windsor Great Park, England - DSC06418.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    But then I see in the National Gardening Association Rhododendrons Database this photo with no coloured calyx:
    Plant database entry for Rhododendron 'May Day' with one image and 12 data details.

    Wouldn't 'May Day' either have coloured calyces or not? Can that really be variable to a cultivar? And what about this plant in Stanley Park?
    RhododendronMayDay1_StanleyParkTennisCourtParking_Cutler_20200524_170809.jpg RhododendronMayDay1_StanleyParkTennisCourtParking_Cutler_20200522_161718.jpg RhododendronMayDay1_StanleyParkTennisCourtParking_Cutler_20200522_161803.jpg RhododendronMayDay1_StanleyParkTennisCourtParking_Cutler_20200522_161814.jpg RhododendronMayDay1_StanleyParkTennisCourtParking_Cutler_20200522_161845.jpg RhododendronMayDay1_StanleyParkTennisCourtParking_Cutler_20200522_161911.jpg
     
  2. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I see that I have photos of another individual that looks like this plant, taken on May 9 when the flowers were fresher.
    Rhododendrum-MayDay_StanleyPark-GriegRhodyGarden_Cutler_20200509_143930.jpg Rhododendrum-MayDay_StanleyPark-GriegRhodyGarden_Cutler_20200509_143957.jpg Rhododendrum-MayDay_StanleyPark-GriegRhodyGarden_Cutler_20200509_144005.jpg Rhododendrum-MayDay_StanleyPark-GriegRhodyGarden_Cutler_20200509_144039.jpg
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    'May Day' is a grex with several clones having been circulated. However the calyx is supposed to be characteristic.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Good. Thank you.
    I was wondering about 'Elizabeth', as that is in the Park Board document as well. Maybe these leaves are too big.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Also a grex however forms I have seen always have a bigger, broader corolla than anything shown on this thread. There are lots of named hybrid rhododendrons including these Neriiflora types. And as with other kinds of trees and shrubs attracting hobbyist interest in particular there is a percentage of unnamed and/or uncirculated hybrid seedlings in local plantings as well. For instance I have asked more than once about unfamiliar looking purple leaved plums when somebody happened to be present on the planting site that might know their history, been told they had been raised from seed off of another specimen. And because certain selections such as 'Lennei' in particular produce conspicuous fruits some saucer magnolias encountered are likely to be seed raised and not individually named clones.
     
  6. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I looked up Rhododendron subsect. Neriiflora, found a page with a lot of photos with names:
    Google Translate (translated by Google)
    It looks like the only common characteristics are smooth bark and young shoots with a thin or thick woolly, whitish to reddish-brown indumentum.
    I may as well include this:
    Grex definition: a group of plants that has arisen from the same hybrid parent group.

    I would expect the Parks Board to have planted (or intended to plant) a known cultivar, at least in Alleyne Cook's time when a lot of these rhododendrons were planted, though he did plant hybrids he created. The individuals I have posted are not exactly in the Greig Rhododendron Garden, though, and could have been planted before his arrival at the Parks Board.
     

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