Rhododendron Facts

Rhododendron Facts
Rhododendron is a flowering plant that belongs to the heath family. There are more than 1000 species of rhododendron that are native to Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. Rhododendron grows in cool climate, on slightly acidic, well-drained soil. It can be found in the mountains, coniferous and temperate forests and tropical rainforests. Rhododendron is cultivated because of its beautiful, fragrant flowers and ornamental leaves. At the moment, there are around 2800 new varieties of rhododendron that are available worldwide.
Interesting Rhododendron Facts:
Rhododendron grows in the form of bush or small tree. It can grow from 3.9 inches to 98 feet in height, depending on the variety.
Most types of rhododendron have fibrous root. Some types grow as epiphytes, or "air-plants" with aerial roots. They grow by supporting on the other plants and by collecting moisture and nutrients directly from the air.
Some types of rhododendron have evergreen leaves, while others have deciduous leaves. Evergreen types usually have large, paddle-shaped leaves. Deciduous plants often have small, elliptical leaves. Bottom side of leaves of some species of rhododendron is covered with hairs or scales.
Rhododendron produces funnel-, bell-, trumpet-shaped or tubular flowers. Color of the flowers can be white, pastel, orange, golden, red, pink or purple. Most types of rhododendron produce fragrant flowers.
Rhododendron is also known as "rose tree" because it often produces flowers in trusses, just like some types of roses ("rodon" is Greek word for "rose" and "dendron" for "tree").
Fruit of rhododendron is dry capsule. Ripe fruit usually splits lengthwise to release seed.
Rhododendron is often used in landscaping or for decoration of woodland gardens due to ornamental morphology of its leaves and flowers. Some types of rhododendron are planted as hedges.
Pollen and nectar of some species of rhododendron contain toxic substance called grayanotoxin that can induce poisoning of humans and animals. Horses are especially sensitive to this type of toxin. Signs of intoxication include abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, involuntary muscle contractions and coma that can lead to death.
Honey produced from nectar of certain types of rhododendron has hallucinogenic and laxative effects. Ancient Greeks and Romans were familiar with side effects of honey made of rhododendron.
Rhododendron arboreum is a national flower of Nepal.
Rhododendron is consumed in the form of pickled flowers and juice in Nepal.
Rhododendron maximum is the state flower of West Virginia. This species of rhododendron is imprinted on the flag of West Virginia.
Labrador tea is herbal tea made of three closely related species of rhododendron.
Medical studies showed that flavonoids, phenolic compounds and saponins extracted from rhododendron have anti-inflammatory (prevent inflammation) properties. They also act beneficially on the function of liver.
Rhododendron can survive up to 100 years under optimal environmental conditions.

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