Rhododendron – a well-known sight, particularly in the west of Ireland – is an undeniably handsome plant. Sadly its rather nasty habit of taking over is causing grief to many native species by shading them out and growing all over their natural habitats. Often more of a small tree than a shrub, it can grow as high as three metres. Forming dense thickets, it bears evergreen, hairless, shiny, elliptical leaves, dark green above, light green below. From May to July, mauve-purple, five-lobed, bell-shaped flowers (4 – 6 cm) are held in large clusters, making a stunning display. Usually found on acid soil, in woodland and on open ground, this is an introduction which belongs to the Ericaceae family.
I first recorded this species in Achill, Co Mayo in 1994 and photographed it in Glenveagh National Park, Co Donegal in 2010.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre