Discovered in Sichuan and N.E. Yunnan in the late 1800's, and in cultivation since 1904, this excellent blood red flowering rhododendron can be the star of the early blooming garden. This species will grow large, over 8 ft tall in time, and stay full and lush as well. One noticeable characteristic are the hairs on the leaf petioles and stems of the plant. They are soft and not spiny, so don't worry about getting stuck. R. strigillosum is typically a plant of open shrubby thickets and woodlands. It occurs at elevations of 7,000 to 11,000 feet (2100 to 3400m) in the mountainous regions of southwestern China, specifically the Provinces of Sichuan and adjacent northeastern Yunnan. One of the classic species in the genus Rhododendron must surely be R. strigillosum. The large deep red flowers in early spring set against the characteristic whorl of dark green leaves with distinctly bristly petioles make this species a must for every collection.