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Cassiope wardii Marquand

Modern name

Cassiope wardii Marquand

A dwarf evergreen shrub to about 8 in. high, with stout erect stems borne on horizontal primary branches which root freely where they touch the ground. The stems are clad with four rows of closely overlapping lanceolate leaves about 15 in. long, furrowed at the back and edged with fine white hairs, but without the thin, hyaline margins characteristic of C. fastigiata. Flowers solitary, nodding, borne near the tips of the stems on short, hairy pedicels; calyx-lobes oblong, free to the base, more or less acute, tipped with red; corolla white, tinged with red inside at the base, broadly bell-shaped, about 38 in. long, with five broadly triangular lobes, recurved at the tips. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 151.

C. wardii was discovered by Kingdon Ward in 1924 on the Temo La in the E. Himalaya but not introduced until 1938, when the Ludlow, Sherriff, and Taylor expedition collected seed under Namche Barwa, in the ranges enclosed by the Tsangpo bend. After the war it was again introduced by Ludlow and Sherriff, and is now well established in cultivation. It is closely allied to C. fastigiata, but in that species the leaves and sepals have thin, membranous margins, the leaves are more lustrous and the stems more slender. A hybrid between the two species has been raised by R. B. Cooke and named by him ‘George Taylor’; it is interesting that it closely resembles a specimen collected by Sir George Taylor and his companions in 1938 and determined by Miss Muirhead as a hybrid of this parentage.

C. (lycopodioides × wardii) ‘Muirhead’. – This hybrid was raised by R. B. Cooke and given an Award of Merit in 1953. It resembles the former in its flexible, whip-cord branchlets and in bearing its flowers all along them – not concentrated near the tips as in C. wardii. The influence of this parent is shown in the more erect habit, larger flowers and hairy pedicels.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

This species received a First Class Certificate in 1981, when exhibited by Mrs H. Esslemont.



Other species in the genus