R. hookeri

The forebears of this plant come from Arunachal Pradesh at elevations of 10,000 to 12,000 feet. It grows on sheltered slopes among true fir and rhododendron forests. The name is somewhat misleading in that there are no real hooks. On the underside of the leaf there are isolated tufts of hairs that are easily seen and remind one of hooks when you draw a finger across them. The plant’s name, however, is in honor of Sir Joseph Hooker, the nineteenth century botanist and explorer who was the first to introduce Asian rhododendrons to the West.

The new growth resembles red candles. The dark red forms are very showy and have nectar pouches in the throat, but there are pink forms that are quite noteworthy.