Eastern USA (N Carolina & Virginia)
Localities documented in Tropicos sources
United States (North America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Anonymous. 1986. List-Based Rec., Soil Conserv. Serv., U.S.D.A. Database of the U.S.D.A., Beltsville. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1103
- Gleason, H. A. 1968. The Sympetalous Dicotyledoneae. vol. 3. 596 pp. In H. A. Gleason Ill. Fl. N. U.S. (ed. 3). New York Botanical Garden, New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1707
- Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles & C. R. Bell. 1968. Man. Vasc. Fl. Carolinas i–lxi, 1–1183. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/636
- Small, J. K. 1933. Man. S.E. Fl. i–xxii, 1–1554. Published by the Author, New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1515
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Shrub, 2—3m; young shoots tomentose though soon glabrescent. Leaves broadly elliptic to obovate, 6.5-11.5 x 3.5-5cm, 1.9-2.3 x as long as broad, apex ± obtuse, base rounded, upper and lower surfaces glabrous when mature though with persistent hair bases below; petioles 2-3cm, ± lanate at first, soon glabrescent. Inflorescence dense, 15-20-flowered; rhachis 20-25mm; pedicels 30-35mm, with a sparse dendroid indumentum. Calyx c.lmm, ± glabrous. Corolla funnel-campanulate, usually lilac-purple, with faint flecks, 30-45mm. Ovary densely rufous-tomentose; style glabrous. Capsule c.20 X 4mm.
Rocky slopes, etc.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Rhododendron catawbiense
No available public DNA sequences.
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rhododendron catawbiense
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
It is a dense, suckering shrub growing to 3 m tall, rarely 5 m. The leaves are evergreen, 6–12 cm long and 2–4 cm broad. The flowers are 3-4.5 cm diameter, violet-purple, often with small spots or streaks. The fruit is a dry capsule 15–20 mm long, containing numerous small seeds.
R. catawbiense belongs to the Subgenus Hymenanthes, within which it is further assigned to Section Ponticum and Subsection Pontica. The latter — one of the 24 subsections of Ponticum — also contains about a dozen other species.
Cultivation and uses
Rhododendron catawbiense' is cultivated as an ornamental plant, popular both in North America and in Europe. It is primarily grown for its spring flower display. Outside of its native range, it has naturalized locally north to Massachusetts. Many cultivars have been selected. 
It is very closely related to (and very difficult to distinguish from) the European species Rhododendron ponticum, and it hybridizes readily with it in cultivation. The hybrid is invasive in parts of northeastern Scotland, in areas too cold for typical R. ponticum to thrive.  The presence of this hybrid was only determined by genetic analysis.
- R. catawbiense cultivars . accessed 1.31.2013
- (Milne & Abbott 2000)
- GRIN—Germplasm Resources Information Network: Rhododendron catawbiense
- Milne, R. I., & Abbott, R. J. (2000). Origin and evolution of invasive naturalized material of Rhododendron ponticum L. in the British Isles. Molecular Ecology 9: 541-556 Abstract.
To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!