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PRIMORye cherry tree

RHODODENDRON

In favor of the Japanese cherry tree, Primorye residents admire the blooming wild rosemary. Although, it is actually a rhododendron, but that is a bit of a mouthful.

Depending on how harsh the winter, it may bloom in March, but usually in April through June. During the May holidays many Vladivostok residents make their first trip to the forest or mountains, for example, to Pidan. The snow has almost melted even on the ridge, and on the southern slopes a pink-lavender cloud of blooming rhododendrons can be seen from afar, blanketing the rocky cliffs.

The flower became the official symbol of Vladivostok in 1994. And since 2005, the Botanical Garden has held Rhododendron Day. Rhododendron twigs picked in February bloom at home in a vase in three weeks, which made it very popular and almost led to its demise.

The Botanical Garden has a great collection of the rhododendron family from Japan, China, Korea and North America.

In Primorye there are several species of rhododendron. There is a dwarf form with yellow flowers, but they grow on the mountaintops and have difficulty taking root in the valleys. There is the ordinary rosemary, but almost double-flowered and a bright crimson.

The most beautiful is Schlippenbach’s rhododendron, which grows on the southern hills of the Khasansky region Its flowers are large, up to seven centimeters, and pure white or creamy peach. This flower was first discovered in Korea and described by a Russian officer from the frigate Pallada, A. E. Schlippenbach, and was thusly named.

In the middle of the 20th century, an unusual grove of trees was found in the Ussuri Taiga on a single spur of the Sikhote-Alin range, at the head of the river Dzhigitovki. Botanists were in disbelief when told of the evergreen tree with white flowers and leather leaves that wintered as a tuber in North Primorye.

They did not believe until they saw it with their own eyes. A small grove of rhododendron Fori, a subtropical plant, growing where it should not be. But here it has entered into a community with native species of firs and therefore has not really taken root in other places, even further south.

This rhododendron blooms in the summer, though not every year: if you are lucky you might catch it.

Come to Vladivostok!

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