Rhododendron Christmas Cheer (also see Rosamundi) Ericaceae
- Broadleaf evergreen shrub, to about 4 ft (1.2 m) in 10 years, low and mounding, very dense habit. Flowers openly funnel-shaped, 5 cm across, pink in bud, opening white flushed pink, fading to very pale pink, almost white.(from American Rhododendron Society). Bean (1976, p. 843) gives the following: flowers are about 8 in a cluster, reddish pedicels (flower stalks); corolla funnel-shaped with a broad base, 1.75 inch (4.5 cm) wide, frilled at the edge, pink in the bud and when frist open, fading to a blush but darker outside on the ridges, with pale red or greenish speckles in the throat, stamen-filaments white, style deep pink. Leaves medium green, brown beneath from a very fine indumentum, elliptic to narrow-obovate, rather narrowly cuneate (wedge-shaped) at the base. The plant may attain a height of about 6 ft (1.8 m) (but see below).
- -10o F, very early-early. Partial shade, reportedly drought tolerant.
- Bean suggests that the true 'Christmas Cheer' might be a larger plant such as that ones found in the R.H.S. Garden at Wisley, about 15 ft(4.5 m) tall, and that the more dwarf form found in commerce may be the same as 'Silberaad's Early Pink'. He states that the similar 'Rosa Mundi' differs from 'Christmas Cheer' in having dark green leaves and an even dwarfer growth habit, reaching about only 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) in twenty years. Harold Greer (1996, p. 186) states that there is much confusion about Rosamundi [i.e., Rosa Mundi] and list it as growing to 4 ft in 10 years. He says the flower color of Rosamundi is described as darker than that of Christmas Cheer. However, the plant most commonly in cultivation as Rosamundi has very light pink flowers and begins to flower about a week after Christmas Cheer. Both cultivars are the results of a cross between R. caucasicum and an unknown.
- Note: the images shown here are of plants being marketed in nurseries as Christmas Cheer