Article Copied from the American Rhododendron Society Blog

Print date: 4/17/2024

A Black-flowered Rhododendron

20 August 2015 @ 10:14 | Posted by Admin

Looking for a rhododendron with black-looking flowers? Rhododendron 'Black Widow' is causing quite a stir among collectors as its very dark maroon flowers appear to be almost black. Also, to add even more interest, this interesting hybrid has white stamens which stand out against the black, wavy-edged petals. Up to 21 flowers are held in ball-shaped flower trusses. Bloom-time is typically May in North America.

Photo by Harold Greer

This unique cultivar was created by Roy Thompson of Waldport, Oregon by first crossing the dark purple, flowered rhododendron 'Frank Galsworthy' with 'Leo', which has a rich, dark-red flower. He called this hybrid 'Gal-Leo'. He then crossed this plant with the maroon-flowered rhododendron 'Warlock'. In order to increase his chances of finding a black flower, he planted out several hundred seedlings of this cross. The best one of the lot Roy named 'Black Widow'

The plant's bright green foliage is 6.5" long, elliptic in shape, ribbed and shiny on top. It has an upright and spreading growth habit, and it grows to a typical height of 3 feet in 10 years. The plant is cold hardy to at least -5°F (-21°C).

Consider having this wonderful rhododendron cultivar in your garden.