FIELD GUIDE TO SHRUBS

Catawba Rhododendron
Rhododendron catawbiense

Family: Ericaceae

Preferred Habitat: prefers moist, cool, acidic, well-drained, organic soil

Range: Appalachian and Allegheny mountains; West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and Kentucky

Height: up to 3 meters (10 feet)

Leaves: alternate, simple and elliptic to oblong, the 8-13 cm evergreen leaves are dark green above, thick, leathery and tend to be bunched at the stem ends; margins are rolled downward giving a slightly convex shape, netted venation, and light green underneath

Flowers: the purple or white flowers occur terminally in 15 cm diameter clusters in mid-May, with green or yellow-brown markings, bell-shaped corolla has 5 lobes and surrounds 10 stamens

Fruit: oval brown capsules are 2 cm long, splitting open at maturity with large numbers of seeds inside

Location spotted: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Extra information: this species is used in many hybrids, so much so that often is difficult to discern the hybrid types