Rhododendron ponticum
Common name: 
Pontic Rhododendron
rho-do-DEN-dron PON-ti-kum
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • 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".
  • 'Variegatum' - is a variegated selection.
  • 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.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flower clusters

    flower clusters

  • flowers


  • flower


  • flower


  • flowers, inside

    flowers, inside

  • leaves, upper surface

    leaves, upper surface

  • leaves, lower surface

    leaves, lower surface