An evergreen shrub naturalised on heathy and rocky hillsides, rocky stream banks and ravines, and as an understorey in woodland on acid soils. It regenerates from seed freely and can form dense thickets. 0-600 m (Eel Crags, Cumberland).
The pollen record shows that R. ponticum was native to Ireland in the Hoxnian interglacial. In the current interglacial it was introduced to cultivation in 1763 and most, if not all, our plants derive from Spanish stock. It was known in the wild by at least 1894 and spread widely in the 20th century, but its initial expansion is poorly documented. Its distribution is now stable.
Native of two, disjunct areas: the Iberian peninsula and S.E. Europe, Lebanon, Turkey and the Caucasus.
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Light (Ellenberg): 5
Moisture (Ellenberg): 5
Reaction (Ellenberg): 3
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.6
Annual Precipitation (mm): 1111
Height (cm): 500
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Clonality - secondary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1966
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 507
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 6
Atlas Change Index: 1.83
Weighted Changed Factor: 13
Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)
Atlas text references
1975. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 137. Rhododendron ponticum L. Journal of Ecology. 63:345-364.
1978. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.