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Synonyms : R. chrysanthum. Pall.
Rhododendron aureum is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows on the thickets in high mountain areas, both alpine and sub-alpine. Grasslands or liverwort-mosses strata in the alpine region at elevations of 1000 – 2500 metres.
It is a small evergreen compact or prostrate shrub.This is a small bush, with the stem from 1 to 1 1/2 feet high, spreading, very much branched, often almost hidden among moss, from which the tips only of its shoots are protruded. The leaves are alternate, of the texture of a laurel leaf, ovate, somewhat acute, tapering into the stalk, reticulated and very rough above, and paler and smoother underneath. The flowers are large, showy, nodding, and borne on clustered, terminal, loose peduncles, emerging from among large downy scales. Corolla campanulate, 5-cleft, with rounded segments, of which the three upper are rather the largest, and streaked with livid dots next the tube, the lower unspotted. Stamens 10, unequal, and deflexed; the anthers oblong, incumbent, and without appendages, opening by two terminal pores. Capsule ovate, rather angular, 5-celled, 5-valved, and septicidal; seeds numerous and minute (L.). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or claye. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, the warmer the climate the more shade a plant requires. 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. Closely related to R. caucasicum. This species is very rare and difficult to cultivate. 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.
It has been much used in folk medicine in Siberia for the treatment of rheumatism, gout, and urinary tract infections. It has been used in homeopathic medicine in the treatment of urinary calculi and inflammation of the prostate gland. Caution should be exercised when using the flowers because they are toxic. Hemostatic, they are used in the treatment of spreading pus and blood in the thoracic region, especially the lungs. Much used in Siberia as a remedy for rheumatism. Also useful in gout and syphilis. The flowers are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter taste and a neutral potency. Caution should be exercised when using the flowers because they are toxic. Hemostatic, they are used in the treatment of spreading pus and blood in the thoracic region, especially the lungs.
Known Hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many members have poisonous leaves. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.
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.
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