Rhododendron catawbiense Michx.
Catawba Rosebay, Purple Rhododendron, Red Laurel, Catawba Rhododendron, Mountain Rosebay
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
USDA Symbol: RHCA8
A mound-shaped, broadleaf evergreen shrub, 6-20 ft. tall, with stout, picturesque, ascending branches. The foliage is dense, thick, glossy and dark green, often in winter developing a yellow-green cast. The numerous bell-shaped, rosy-lilac flowers occur in dense, terminal clusters. An evergreen shrub with clusters of large, rose or purple-lilac, funnel-shaped flowers.
This attractive flowering shrub with southern affinities forms dense thickets on mountain slopes. Frequently used as an ornamental, it has been hybridized with the less hardy Himalayan species to produce some of our most spectacular showy rhododendrons.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often shorter.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , GA , KY , MA , NC , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: VA to KY, s. to GA & AL
Native Habitat: Mountain woods; rocky slopes
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Shade
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Various well-drained soils.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Combine seeds loosely with sphagnum moss and sprinkle lightly over a 2:1 perlite/peat mixture. Germinate under mist or a plastic tent. Optimum temperatures for germination are 45-50 degrees. Transplant seedlings to acid soil with a high content of orga
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1998 VOL. 15, NO.5 - Native Shrubs Providing Landscape Heritage and Habitat, Executive Director\'s Re...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Rhododendron catawbiense in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhododendron catawbiense in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhododendron catawbiense
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-03
Research By: TWC Staff