May to June
It is found throughout the country except for parts of the East.
For a map see the National Biodiversity Network Gateway
It is a neophyte, which was introduced from Spain in the 1760s,
escaped into the wild by the 1890s and then spread widely in
the 20th century.
It grows on heaths, moors and woodland on acid soils.
Rhododendron is an attractive evergreen shrub that grows up
Flowerheads are large and showy.
Flowers are bell-shaped and up to 5cm across.
Petals are dull, light purple with brown markings.
There are 10 stamens and a prominent style and stigma.
Leaves are shiny, dark green and up to 12cm long.
Branches grow close together to form impenetrable thickets.
It regenerates readily from seed.
Although attractive, Rhododendron spreads aggressively and
is classed as an invasive plant and is subject to eradication
Rhododendron ponticum is listed under Schedule 9 to
the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with respect to
England, Wales and Scotland. It is an offence to plant
or otherwise cause Rhododendron ponticum to grow
in the wild.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is
classified as controlled waste.
For details of legislation go to
Control and management of invasive alien (non-native) plants is
under the auspices of a Defra committee - NSSS (GB Non-native
For details for Rhododendron ponticum, click on the link.
Stamens and style
Regeneration from an old root
Colonising waste land