Rhododendron xfragrans, from Esveld, Holland. The leaves are thick, glossy, rather small and with pointed ends. This historical azaleodendron (1) is presumed to be R. ponticum X viscosum (2). Suckers
like shown in the lower picture. The reason why I obtained this plant was my interest in breeding fragrant-flowered elepidotes and the idea that the rather limited scent chemistry of elepidotes could possibly be expanded by introducing biosynthesis genes from
azaleas through hybridization. Unfortunately, I don't know of any fertile azaleodendron and xfragrans seems infertile as well. Nervertheless, I still haven't tried hard enough to get pollen from xfragrans. If it turns out that it can produce even small amounts
of viable pollen it may be possible to use it in breeding. On a side note, the American azalea cultivar Fragrant Star, which is an induced octoploid, might produce fertile offspring with diploid elepidotes. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any seeds from pollinations
with FS so far. I love the intense clove scent of FS so it would be great to hybridize it with hardier azaleas as well.
(1) Paxton, J., 1843. Paxton's Magazine of Botany, and Register of Flowering Plants. London 10: 147, cum t.
(2) Contreras et al. HortScience June 2007 vol. 42 no. 3 740-743