Herb: Alpenrose

Latin name: Rhododendron ferrugineum

Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Medicinal use of Alpenrose:

The flowers, leaves and the galls are antirheumatic, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of certain forms of arthritis and rheumatism, but can cause diarrhoea and vomiting so should only be used with expert supervision. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in treating a variety of complaints involving flatulence.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Mountain slopes in open woods or scrub, often dominant in the dwarf shrub zone.

Other uses of Alpenrose:

Plants can be grown as ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way. Some substances in this plant have shown herbicidal activity, though more research needs to be carried out.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 - 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult.

Cultivation of Alpenrose:

Mountain slopes in open woods or scrub, often dominant in the dwarf shrub zone.

Known hazards of Rhododendron ferrugineum:

The leaves and the galls are poisonous. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.