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Andover Bird Sanctuary Field Notes

by Sally Perkins


Rhododendron minus lane
Picture by S & J Perkins
Rhododendron minus lane in Andover, MA

The Andover Bird Sanctuary is a large, moist woodland tract of land located in Andover, Massachusetts . The Audubon Society administers the property which is open to the public but not well known.  The official name of the property is the Moncrieff Cochran Sanctuary. On the former estate are planted native and introduced species as well as hybrid Rhododendrons. Many of the plantings are old, from about the 1920's. I think there may be seedling populations of R. carolinianum, R. maximum, as well as deciduous and evergreen azaleas.

Visit on May 21, 1995   with ARS member Randy Harris.

Did not take pictures but R. prinophyllum and R. periclymenoides in bloom

The R. carolinianum were pretty spectacular, no yellows, just the typical white to pink forms

R. kaempferi were at peak color for the coral-orange forms. The red/red-orange ones were not fully out and the red ones seemed to be smaller plants. Some were scattered  throughout the grounds as isolated plants. Along the path on the right down past the pond bridge were a large number of 5-7 feet tall plants along both sides of the path for about 50-75 feet .

There was also some elepidote R. catawbiense type plants showing bud color but none really open yet.

Visit on June 7, 1995  with John Perkins.

We did take pictures but it rained that day and maybe a little while we were there so pictures didn't come out too well. There were quite a few R. catawbiense  (hybrids? ) in bloom that I tried to get pictures. Most were 'Roseum Elegans' type color lavender pink with a olive green flare. We thought there were some nice plants that reminded us of an open 'Gomer Waterer' (white with the lilac tinge).

Another hybrid was deeper pink almost red in bud, that open deep rose, one had a white flare or throat with a deep rose outer corolla.

The red R. kaempferi were going past but the R. calendulaceum were in full bloom. One plant on the end had multicolor flowers in yellow and orange.

There was a group of Kalmia latifolia budded up but not yet open in a small clearing off the main trail.

Visit on Sunday July 9, 1995 with John Perkins.

R. maximum pretty much at peak Most had pink in bud open white with a green flare.

There were a some that were darker pink in bud that fade to an apple blossom pink. There were a few that seem to have a lilac tone to the flowers especially when fading. We did not find any deep color forms.

We did not find any pure white  forms but we did find some close to white with just a blush of pink on the bud. All of them with the olive green flare .

Some had smaller leaf forms then what I would not normally associate with R.maximum, some with nice dome shaped trusses and some that had larger number of flowers in a domed truss.

I did take a picture as I first came into the sanctuary of a typical R. maximum and one of a nice dome truss that John pointed out to me heading towards the right.

R. arborescens in bloom very white with pink tinges in bud with the red stalked glands on the outer corolla nice fragrant, very large flower ones (1.5 in across ) star shaped flower-- nice shape--took a picture of one that seemed to stand out from the rest

Most R. calendulaceum were past but I did find a flower of a late blooming plant with a yellow flower and a pale peachy orange flare. Took some pollen home for crossing

There was a white R. viscosum,  found at the wooded end of R. calendulaceum group, very incredibly sticky (older flowers stuck together). Smaller flower than the rest with yellow flare. Picture does not show pale yellow flare as well.  I wondered  if is a hybrid and if could be used in breeding with R. serrulatum?

Interesting notes

a few R. carolinianum seedlings

Calluna seeding in on roadside

 many R. maximum seedlings along trail

R.kaempferi, R. calendulaceum, represent an interesting genetic pool

also R. prinophyllum, R. periclymenoides some R. japonicum? type hybrid earlier in the season.


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