Rhododendron ponticum L.
Vigorous, evergreen shrub with lance-shaped leaves, to 18cm long, and trusses of up to 15 broadly funnel-shaped, lilac-pink to reddish-purple flowers, spotted yellowish-green inside, in early summer. To 8m. [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers', Don].
Horticultural & Botanical History
Introduced to cultivation in 1763 [PD], it is the most commonly grown Rhododendron in Britain, naturalised in places, and often interbred with other species. ‘This beautiful ever-green shrub is a native of Gibralter, the Levant, and of Georgia, particularly on the southern side of Mount Caucasus, growing in the rocky moist woods of beech and alder, and sometimes acquiring the height of eight or nine feet. […] It is a hardy evergreen, but apt to be injured by late frosts; loves a moist soil and shady situation; bears forcing remarkably well, and in this state great numbers have of late years been brought to the London markets, to ornament our houses in the Spring.’ [BM t.650/1803]. According to Don ‘the most remarkable are those with white, red or bluish flowers and striped leaves.’
History at Camden Park
Unlike most rhododendrons and azaleas Rhododendron ponticum seems to have thrived reasonably well at Camden as it is listed in all published catalogues [T.826/1843]. Received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831. [MP A2948].
Published Jun 19, 2009 - 01:53 PM | Last updated Jul 18, 2010 - 11:33 AM