Rhododendron ponticum


Photo credit: © CABI/Harry C. Evans
Rhododendron ponticum
  • Mixed deciduous forest. Temperate heaths. Raised and blanket bogs.

  • This species was first introduced to parks, gardens, and demesnes in Britain and Ireland in the 1700’s. Rhododendron ponticum is readily recognised by its distinctive attractive flowers and large dark green coloured, oval leaves. It can grow quite tall with specimens regularly attaining 8 m.
  • Download N.I.E.A. ID guide

Image © GBNNSS

Origin and Distribution:
  • The species is native to both Europe and Asia. It is believed that the current populations of Rhododendron in Ireland have been introduced from material taken from both the Iberian Peninsula populations and the Asian populations of this species. Rhododendron has a complex history.

  • Rhododendron can form very dense thickets and out-compete native plants for space and resources, especially for sunlight. Other impacts on fish and invertebrate communities have been recorded. Rhododendron can also prevent access to sites by the shear mass of plant material blocking paths and right of way.

How did it get here?
  • Natural dispersal by seed and vegetative means and garden escapees planted by people.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • Planted in gardens, parks and demesnes across Ireland and Northern Ireland.
  • More information can be found at NBDC and NBN Atlas NI

You can help by reporting any sightings:

Static Distribution Map as of December 2019 - Courtesy of CEDaR

Prevent Spread
  • Import only clean soil from known source.
  • Ensure all vehicles and equipment are cleaned to avoid cross contamination.
  • Promote native species and biodiversity - use alternative, native plants.
  • Know what you are buying/growing and source native Irish seed and plants.
  • Do not swap plants and cuttings
  • Never collect plants from the wild.
  • Safe disposal of plant material and growing media.
  • Record any sightings.

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland