Rhododendron catawbiense

Rhododendron catawbiense

name = "Rhododendron catawbiense"

image_width = 240px
image_caption = "Rhododendron catawbiense" growing wild on Mount Mitchell, North Carolina
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Ericales
familia = Ericaceae
genus = "Rhododendron"
subgenus = "Hymenanthes"
subsectio = "Pontica"
species = "R. catawbiense"
binomial = "Rhododendron catawbiense"
binomial_authority = Michx.

"Rhododendron catawbiense" (Catawba Rhododendron) is a species of "Rhododendron" native to the eastern United States, growing mainly in the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia south to northern Alabama.

It is a dense, suckering shrub growing to 3 m tall, rarely 5 m. The leaves are evergreen, 6-12 cm long and 2-4 cm broad. The flowers are 3-4.5 cm diameter, violet-purple, often with small spots or streaks. The fruit is a dry capsule 15-20 mm long, containing numerous small seeds.

The species is named after the Catawba tribe of Native Americans.


Section Ponticum, subsection Pontica

Cultivation and uses

It is a popular ornamental plant, both in North America and also in Europe, grown for its spring flower display. Outside of its native range, it is naturalized locally north to Massachusetts.

It is very closely related to (and very difficult to distinguish from) the European species "Rhododendron ponticum", and hybridizes readily with it in cultivation; the hybrid is invasive in parts of northeastern Scotland in areas too cold for typical "R. ponticum" to thrive (Milne & Abbott 2000); the presence of this hybrid was only determined by genetic analysis.


* [http://www.rhododendron.org/index.htm American Rhododendron Society]
* [http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?5025 Germplasm Resources Information Network: "Rhododendron catawbiense"]
* [http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHCA8 USDA Plants Profile: "Rhododendron catawbiense"]
*Milne, R. I., & Abbott, R. J. (2000). Origin and evolution of invasive naturalized material of Rhododendron ponticum L. in the British Isles. "Molecular Ecology" 9: 541-556 [http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-294x.2000.00906.x Abstract] .

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