Rhododendron ponticum L., Sp. Pl. ed. 2 562 1762. (Syn: Anthodendron ponticum (L.) Rchb.; Azalea arborea L.; Azalea gandavensis K.Koch; Azalea lancifolia (Moench) Kuntze; Hymenanthes pontica (L.) H.F.Copel.; Rhododendron myrtifolium Lodd. [Invalid]);
Rhododendron ponticum, called common rhododendron or pontic rhododendron, is a species of Rhododendron native to southern Europe and southwest Asia.
R. ponticum is a dense, suckering shrub or small tree growing to 5 m (16 ft) tall, rarely 8 m (26 ft). The leaves are evergreen, 6 to 18 cm (2.4 to 7.1 in) long and 2 to 5 cm (0.79 to 1.97 in) wide. The flowers are 3.5 to 5 cm (1.4 to 2.0 in) in diameter, violet-purple, often with small greenish-yellow spots or streaks. The fruit is a dry capsule 1.5 to 2.5 cm (0.59 to 0.98 in) long, containing numerous small seeds.
Rhododendron ponticum subsp. baeticum is one of the most extensively cultivated rhododendrons in western Europe. It is used as an ornamental plant in its own right, and more frequently as a rootstock onto which other more attractive rhododendrons are grafted.
Suckering of the root, together with its abundant seed production, has led to it becoming an invasive species over much of western Europe and in parts of New Zealand. Rhododendron control is a key element in nature conservation in those areas. Conservation organisations in Britain now believe R. ponticum has become “a severe problem” in the native Atlantic oakwoods of the west highlands of Scotland and in Wales, and on heathlands in southern England, crowding out the native flora. Clearance strategies have been developed, including the flailing and cutting down of plants with follow-up herbicide spraying. Injection of herbicide into individual plants has been found to be more precise and effective.
(From Wikipedia on 21.4.14)
Ericaceae (incl. Vacciniaceae) Fortnight :: Rhododendron ponticum :: SFO Bot.garden:: SMP APR05 : 5 posts by 4 authors. 2 images.
Excellent photographs …
Sirji correctly identified!