Rhododendron ponticum

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaEricaceaeRhododendronRhododendron ponticum


An evergreen shrub naturalised on heathy and rocky hillsides, rocky stream banks and ravines, and as an understorey in woodland on acid soils. It regenerates from seed freely and can form dense thickets. 0-600 m (Eel Crags, Cumberland).



World Distribution

Native of two, disjunct areas: the Iberian peninsula and S.E. Europe, Lebanon, Turkey and the Caucasus.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 5

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 3

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1111

Life form information

Height (cm): 500

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Mega-, meso- and microphanerophyte



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Clonality - secondary

Shortly creeping and rooting at nodes

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1966

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 507

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 6

Atlas Change Index: 1.83

Weighted Changed Factor: 13

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (192c)
Cross JR
1975.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 137. Rhododendron ponticum L. Journal of Ecology. 63:345-364.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.