Thursday, 28 July 2016

MELBOURNE STREET TREES 154 - VIREYA RHODODENDRON

Rhododendron section Vireya (vireyas) is a tropical group of Rhododendron species, numbering about 300 in all. Vireyas are native to southeastern Asia and range from Thailand to Australia. Vireya are morphologically diverse, and characterised by seeds with tailed appendages, the presence of leaf idioblasts and capsule valves which twist upon opening.

Vireya is the largest of the three sections constituting subgenus Rhododendron, and includes about a third of all Rhododendron species. The exact classification has varied among various authors, some authors considering Vireya to be a separate subgenus rather than as here, a section of the Rhododendron subgenus. It has been suggested that taxonomic nomenclatural correctness requires changing the name of the Vireya rhododendrons to Schistanthe. Thus the term 'Vireya' has been used to refer to Section Vireya (Sleumer), Subgenus Vireya, Section Schistanthe, or the majority of the Malesian tropical rhododendrons. (Fayaz). Goetsch (2011) gives the number of species as 320, and the total taxa including subspecies, forms and varieties as 380.

The cultivar shown here is Vireya 'Maid Marion', often encountered in Melbourne gardens. Vireya are perfect for adding bright bold colour to the garden. Ideal for under planting trees and other shrubs they are also happy in containers and some of the more spreading varieties could be grown in hanging baskets.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

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