Common Rhododendron, Pontic Rhododendron, Ponticum Rhododendron
In Stock: 0.173 lb (Total:0.173lb)
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where i.inventory_id = '3797'
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Germination: requires light for germination, surface sow and keep moist
Other: Sterile soil should be used, care should be taken to not sow the seed too thick
Introducing the Rhododendron ponticum, commonly known as the Common Rhododendron or Pontic Rhododendron. This species of Rhododendron is native to southern Europe and southwest Asia. It is a dense, suckering shrub or small tree that can grow up to 5 meters tall, although rarely reaching 8 meters. The leaves are evergreen, ranging from 6 to 18 centimeters in length and 2 to 5 centimeters in width. The beautiful flowers measure 3.5 to 5 centimeters in diameter and come in a vibrant violet-purple color, often with small greenish-yellow spots or streaks. The fruit is a dry capsule, about 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters long, containing numerous small seeds.
This species has two subspecies. The first one, Rhododendron ponticum subsp. ponticum, is found from Bulgaria east to Georgia. The second one, Rhododendron ponticum subsp. baeticum (Boiss. & Reut.) Hand.-Mazz., is found in Spain and Portugal.
In terms of distribution, the Common Rhododendron's range includes Spain, northern Portugal, Great Britain, Ireland, southeast Bulgaria, Turkey, Lebanon, Georgia, the Krasnodar area of southern Russia, the Himalayas, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Northern Pakistan, and parts of Kashmir into the northern Republic of India (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand). It is even the state flower of Azad Kashmir.
It is important to note that while this species once had a wider range across most of southern and western Europe before the Late Glacial Maximum, or about 20,000 years ago, it did not recolonize Great Britain after the last Ice Age. Its presence on the British Isles is primarily due to human introduction, and it has now become an invasive species. It easily naturalizes and becomes a pest in certain situations, often covering entire hillsides, particularly in Snowdonia and the western British Isles. The Common Rhododendron commonly colonizes moorlands, uplands, shady woodlands, and areas of acid soils in the British Isles.
Rhododendron ponticum is widely cultivated in western Europe, particularly the subspecies Rhododendron ponticum subsp. baeticum. It is primarily used as an ornamental plant on its own or as a rootstock onto which more attractive rhododendrons are grafted. However, it is important to note that the honey produced with pollen from the flowers can be poisonous if consumed in large enough quantities, as it contains toxic diterpenes called grayanotoxins. In some parts of the world, a controlled dosage of the honey is taken for spiritual or psychological purposes, as it can induce hallucinations.
Despite its beauty and ornamental value, the Common Rhododendron has become an invasive species in many parts of Europe and New Zealand due to its ability to produce numerous seeds and send up suckers from its roots. This has led to a need for rhododendron control efforts in these areas to protect native flora and fauna.