Herb: Rosebay Rhododendron


Latin name: Rhododendron maximum


Synonyms: Rhododendron procerum


Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)



Medicinal use of Rosebay Rhododendron:

The poulticed leaves are used to relieve arthritic pain, headaches etc. A decoction of the leaves is occasionally employed internally in domestic practice in the treatment of rheumatism. The leaves are taken internally in controlled dosage for the treatment of heart ailments. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
3.5 m
(11 feet)

Flovering:
June
to July

Habitat of the herb:

Damp places along streams, edges of bogs and ponds, woods and mountain slopes to 900 metres, often forming impenetrable thickets.

Other uses of Rosebay Rhododendron:

Wood - fine-grained, hard, heavy, strong, rather brittle. It weighs 39lb per cubic foot. Used for tool handles and as a boxwood (Buxus spp.) substitute in engraving.

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 Rosebay Rhododendron:

Damp places along streams, edges of bogs and ponds, woods and mountain slopes to 900 metres, often forming impenetrable thickets.

Known hazards of Rhododendron maximum:

The leaves are poisonous. Ingestion can cause convulsions and coma. 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.