Great Rhododendron
Rhododendron maximum
Family Ericaceae

* Flowers pink, purple, or white, spotted with orange or green. Flower stems sticky.
* Leaves evergreen, leathery, smooth, dark beneath, with rolled edges that curl in winter.
* Height: 5-40'.

Natural History:
* Flowers June to July.
* Habitat: Wet woods, swamps.
* Range: Eastern and midwestern United States, Wellesley College.
* Native, but often cultivated.

* Rhododendron's hard wood is used for tool handles, decorative objects, and fuel. The leaves are poisonous to cattle and deer.

* As you may have noticed, rhododendrons are everywhere on Wellesley's campus, most notably in the aptly named Rhododendron Hollow in front of Clapp Library. The plants are significant in Wellesley's history as well. A 1917 article in the Wellesley Alumnae Quarterly, entitled "The Conservation and Development of the College Grounds" and written by Marian E. Hubbard of the Zoology Department, bemoans the loss of trees on campus due to the outbreak of gypsy moths: "Here and there the eye misses individual trees, as the beautiful elm in the orchard, the white oak opposite the President's house, trees shading the rhododendrons in Rhododendron Hollow." And when Barbara Bush came to give the commencement address in 19--, rhododendrons were planted in her honor.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008