Shrub, Toothless, Evergreen
leaves, clustered towards the end of the stems, are 6-12 cm long, leathery,
unlobed and untoothed and taper to
a sharp point. They are dark and glossy above, paler below and have
very short stalks.
an introduced evergreen shrub,
up to 3 m in height with a smooth bark. It spreads rapidly by suckering,
to form dense thickets beneath woodland trees or out in the open.
5-petalled flowers are purple with brown spots, 5 cm across, and appear
in clusters of 10-15 in May.
Each flower has
10 showy, curved anthers.
into cylindrical capsules 15mm
long, which contain many small flattened seeds.
It was introduced
from the Armenia in the Caucasus in about 1763 and planted to give
cover for game birds in woods.
In many areas
it is so invasive that it overwhelms the native vegetation, causing
enormous conservation problems.
is used to graft the hundreds of varieties of Rhododendron, which
are grown in parks and gardens for ornament