- Broadleaf evergreen upright shrub, dense or leggy, about 4 ft (1.2 m) in 10 years, it can grow into a
small tree, in the wild it may attain a height of 25 ft (~7.5 m). Leaves are
oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, 10-20 cm long and 2.5-64 cm wide, dark green above, paler below; petiole
1.3-2.5 cm long. About 6-15 flowers per terminal clusters, each flower funnel-shaped, about 5 cm
wide, lilac pink to light or rosy purple (also a white form), the upper lobe usually marked with greenish or brownish spots, 10 stamens,
and the single filament is hairy at the base(?); the calyx is very small, with 5 blunt teeth.
- -15° F, late, 2-4/4/4-5 [quality rating of flower / foliage & plant / performance, based on a 1(poorest)
to 5 (best) scale].
- Native to a southern Europe and southwest Asia, its most continuous distribution is in the region of the
Black Sea. Bean (p. 742, 1976) states the following: "It is questionable whether the cultivated and
naturalized plants are entitled to the name of R. ponticum, for there can be no doubt that the
species has become contaminated by hybridisation".
- Caution: Rhododendron ponticum is an invasive plant. It produces
abundant seed and also suckers, forming dense thickets. It is naturalized in Ireland, the U.K. and
much of western Europe as well as in parts of New Zealand. Rhododendron control is a key element
in nature conservation in many areas.
- ponticum: of Pontus, NE Turkey.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: on the Brick Mall west of Stand Ag. Hall.