R. macrophyllum ProjectThe Siuslaw Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society is searching for the rhododendron native to the Oregon Coast. These beautiful rhododendrons, officially known as R. macrophyllum, grow abundantly along the Oregon Coast and give Florence the nickname, “The City of Rhododendrons”. “Some of the best habitat of this wonderful species is rapidly being destroyed and some of the better forms of the plant are being lost forever as the area expands with more homes, businesses and roads” stated Everett Hall, 2004-05 president of the Chapter. “Development encompasses land where R. macrophyllum grows naturally,” he continued. “The Siuslaw Chapter wants to locate these plants, collect their seeds or take cuttings, and plant the seedlings in local parks and public spaces.”
With the help of the public the Chapter has identified more than 40 outstanding plants from Bandon in southern Oregon to Newport in the north. “We discovered one of the whitest whites and one of the reddest reds I have ever seen,” said Gene Cockeram, chairman of the project. "Everyone traveling along the Oregon Coast is asked to help with the search for superior R. macrophyllum. Each plant that is collected and successfully propagated will be given a name. If it is one you find you will have the opportunity to name it,” stated Cockeram.
A superior rhododendron should have large foliage and a truss composed of at least twenty flowers in the pink form. The Chapter would like to look at every white form and light red form that is found regardless of how many flowers are in the truss. Along the Coast most of these plants bloom in May and June but there are forms that bloom in April and some still bloom in July. The chapter is interested in these early and late bloomers, too. Even though the Florence area is the center of the search, the collecting area will be the Oregon Coast from Lincoln City south to Bandon.
The Chapter requests that every rhododendron lover help save the R. macrophyllum. It is an extensive project for the Siuslaw Chapter to undertake and it will take several years to accomplish. The project was initiated in 2002 and it is the goal of the Chapter to have the project basically completed by 2007, the 100th anniversary of “The City of Rhododendrons” festival, even though newly discovered outstanding R. macrophyllums may always be added to the list.
Plan a vacation on the beautiful Central Oregon Coast!Plan your trip along the Oregon Coast from April to June when the beautiful native rhododendrons are in bloom along Scenic Highway 101. Visit us during our Early Show the weekend of April 16-17, 2016 and our Rhododendron Festival Show the third full weekend in May. Or come to our meetings on the third Tuesday of each month. And, when traveling along the Oregon Coast to Florence please be alert for any white, red or superior pink R. macrophyllum you see and email Gene Cockeram, chairman of the native rhododendron search project.
Gene has taken a number of R. macrophyllum pictures along the Oregon Coast. Here are some shown as a slideshow QuickTime movie.
If you are really interested in North American rhododendron species, then check out this web site.
Western North American Rhododendron Species Project (WNARSP)
See you in Florence,
"The City of Rhododendrons"
Top of Page