Eastern USA (N Carolina & Virginia)
Regularity: Regularly occurring
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
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
Rhododendron catawbiense, with common names Catawba Rhododendron, mountain rosebay, purple ivy, purple laurel, purple rhododendron, red laurel, rosebay, rosebay laurel, is a species of Rhododendron native to the eastern United States, growing mainly in the southern Appalachian Mountains from Virginia south to northern Alabama.
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. The taxonomy has been confused by a tendency to group all large leaved Rhododendrons under the catch-all R. catawbiense.
Cultivation and uses
Rhododendron catawbiense is cultivated as an ornamental plant, popular both in North America and in parts of Europe. It is primarily grown for its spring flower display. Outside of its native range, Many cultivars and hybrids have been created, such as 'Purple Elegans' and ‘Roseus Elegans’, and 'Grandiflorum'.
- Wagstaff, D.J. (2008). International Poisonous Plants Checklist: An Evidence-Based Reference. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781420062533.
- University of Connecticut: Rhododendron catawbiense
- R. catawbiense cultivars . accessed 1.31.2013
- 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.
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