|R. catawbiense growing wild on Mount Mitchell, North Carolina|
| Rhododendron catawbiense|
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.
R. catawbiense belongs to the Subgenus Hymenanthes, within which it is further assigned to Section Ponticum and Subsection Pontica. The latter — one of the 24 subsections of Ponticum — also contains about a dozen other species.
Cultivation and usesEdit
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.
- American Rhododendron Society
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Rhododendron catawbiense
- 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 Abstract.