Braw; a late 16th century Scottish word, a variant of brave. Nowadays meaning fine, excellent, attractive. Words that describe the developing flower buds of Rhododendron lanigerum. At this stage these terminal buds populate the plants near Inverleith House. The scales are a soft felty brown colour. As they expand nearer flowering time they open out and shed to reveal the petals.
Observe the leaves in their drop down state, a physiological adaptation to conserve moisture loss through transpiration, by presenting a reduced leaf surface to the air during cold spells in the winter. It does however give them a bat like appearance. The light brown indumentum covering the reverse of the leaf can be seen in the attached images.
Native to the Eastern Himalayas and China. These plants were collected in Tibet by Frank Kingdon Ward during 1924. Growing to 7 metres as a small tree or large shrub where it forms dense thickets. The bark becomes craggy on young growth and fissures, cracking and breaking off.