This is a small tree or large shrub which occurs naturally in three main regions: around about the Black Sea, the Balkans and in the Iberian Peninsula. It was introduced into the British Isles in the second half of the eighteenth century.
It is a very common plant in parks, much planted in Victorian times. It has given rise to a number of hybrids and in fact many plants in cultivation and those that have escaped may be hybrids and not the pure species. They are a great nuisance in that they spread easily into woodland and into open acid peaty ground such as bogland. They pose a threat both to natural vegetation and to the balance of species in planted woodland and parkland, often forming great impenetrable thickets if left unchecked .
A huge dense thicket of this species covers a hillside in the Mourne Mountains at Kinnahalla.
All names: Rhododendron ponticum L.