Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Rhododendron maximum L.
Great laurel, Wild rhododendron, Rosebay rhododendron, White laurel, Rosebay
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
with short, crooked trunk, broad, rounded crown of many stout, crooked branches, and large white blossoms. Great-laurel or rosebay rhododendron is a loose, open, broadleaf evergreen
with multiple-trunks, upright branching, and the largest leaves of all native
rhododendrons. The plant grows 4-15 ft. in the north, but can grow 30 ft. high in favorable sites. Its foliage is dark blue-green and leathery. Large, bell-shaped, white to purplish-pink, spotted flowers appear in terminal clusters of 16-24.
Rosebay Rhododendron is abundant in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Often grown as an ornamental, it is one of the hardiest and largest evergreen
rhododendrons. The wood is occasionally used for tool handles, and a home remedy has been prepared from the leaves.
Image Gallery: 5 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Dark Green Flower:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun
AL , CT , GA , KY , ME , MD , MA , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VT , VA , WV , DC Canada: NS Native Distribution:
W. ME to NY & OH, s., especially in the mts., s. to n. GA Native Habitat:
Moist, dense woods; steep stream banks; mountain slopes USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Cool, moist, well-drained soil.
BenefitWarning: Rhododendrons contain poisonous substances and should not be ingested by humans or animals. Honey made from flowers also may be toxic. POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Highly Toxic, May be Fatal if eaten. Symptoms include salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, coma. Toxic Principle: Andromedotoxin. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes