Rhododendron ponticum is native to deciduous forests in the Mediterranean such as Turkey, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Spain, and Caucasus. But after being introduced to new areas, typically by gardeners planting the bush, it is now also in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, France, Austria, and the Netherlands. The plant continues to invade much of the European Continent. To learn more about the invasion, click here.

     The ideal conditions for Rhododendron ponticum is a damp climate, open space to grow, and soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. However, Rhododendron ponticum does not need ideal conditions to thrive. It can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and it can outcompete other organisms for ground space.

©Zeynel Cebeci 2006

     Rhododendron ponticum creates a harsh habitat for other organisms. In fact, many organisms die or move to new areas once Rhododendron ponticum begins to grow in their environment. The abundant amount of lateral and vertical growth results in an insufficient amount of both sunlight and space for other organisms to thrive.

Adaptations of Rhododendron ponticum