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It grows in pinus forests, thickets on mountain slopes, exposed grassy hillsides, ridges; near sea level to 2500 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang.
Rhododendron molle is a decidious Shrubs, 0.5–2 m tall; branches densely gray-white-pubescent, also sparsely setose when young. Petiole 2–6 mm, puberulent and ± setose; leaf blade papery, oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 5–11 × 1.5–3.5 cm; base cuneate; margin ciliate; apex obtuse and mucronate; abaxial surface densely gray-white-pubescent, yellow-brown setose along midrib; adaxial surface sparsely to densely puberulent when young. Inflorescence terminal, racemose-umbellate: flowers opening before or with the leaves; many-flowered. Pedicel 1–2.5 cm, pubescent and sparsely setose; calyx lobes small, rounded, pubescent and setose-ciliate; corolla broadly funnelform, yellow or golden yellow, with dark red flecks on lobes, ca. 4.5 × 5–6 cm; tube cylindric, tapering towards base, ca. 26 mm wide, outer surface puberulent; lobes 5, elliptic or ovate-oblong, ca. 2.8 cm, puberulent on outer surface; stamens 5, unequal; filaments flat, puberulent below; ovary conical, ca. 4 mm, densely gray-white-pubescent, also sparsely setose; style to 6 cm, glabrous. Capsule conical-cylindric, 5-ribbed, 25–35 mm, puberulent and sparsely setose. Fl. Mar–May, fr. Jul–Aug.
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or clayey. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, though it prefers a shady position. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit, it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. A very ornamental plant, it is the parent of many cultivars. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Anaesthetic; Analgesic; Sedative.
The flowers are analgesic, anaesthetic and sedative. They are applied externally in the treatment of arthritis, caries, itch, maggots and traumatic injuries. The root is used in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism and traumatic injuries.
The powdered flowers have a mild insecticidal effect.
There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database
Known Hazards: The plant is very toxic. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.