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Things You Didn't Know About Rhododendrons (How To Pronounce Ah?): Now On Show At Gardens By The Bay

Can you believe it's already the middle of October!

Indeed, time is a gift that most of us take for granted. And that also means you don't have much time (less than two weeks, in fact) to catch the first-ever rhododendron display at Gardens By The Bay.

Rhodo-whut? We hear you ask. Don't worry, here's our guide to everything you need to know about this super-Instagrammable spectacle.

Photo: Sim Ding En

1. It's a rose by name, not by nature.

The name Rhododendron comes from the Greek words “rodon” which means “rose” and “dendron” which means “tree”, alluding to the rose-like flowers from this shrub or small tree.

2. It's a country's national flower.

And that country is Nepal. To be precise, it is the lali gurans (or red rhododendron) that is Nepal's national flower. The rhododendron is also the state flower of West Virginia and Washington in the United States.

Photo: Sim Ding En

3. It's found only in the temperate northern hemisphere.

Rhododendrons are widespread across a range of habitats from temperate forests to montane cloud forests, but do not grow in South America and Africa.

4. It could be very small or very tall.

The smallest rhododendron species, such as Rhododendron lapponicum and Rhododendron drumonium, range between 10 and 100cm, while the tallest is reported to be over 30m in height. Rhododendron arboretum, also known as Tree Rhododendron, discovered on Mount Japfu in India, holds the Guinness World Record for being the tallest rhododendron at 32.91m, recorded at the time of its discovery. Today, this rhododendron is still growing.

Photo: Sim Ding En

5. Its bud has a protective bract.

The flower buds of rhododendrons (above) are enclosed in protective bracts – modified leaves or scales – that fall off as they bloom. The presence of hairs or scales on these bracts shelter the buds from frost, wind and heat.

6. There are cute bears galore.

No, seriously. Eight super cute bears - with equally adorable monikers like Active Anton, Fun Felix and Precious Peggy - complement this outdoor adventure-themed exhibition. For instance, you can find Active Anton on a whitewater raft racing against Adventurous Andy who sits in a Shotover jet, while Fun Felix makes his way across a rope bridge even as he attempts to take a wefie with Naughty Nicholas.

7. Its name is not that difficult to pronounce.

Simply say "ro-doh-den-dren".

Photo: Sim Ding En

Rhododendron Radiance is on till 28 Oct 2019, 9am to 9pm at the Flower Dome at Gardens By The Bay.

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