Leaf: Alternate (appears whorled at the ends of branches), evergreen, simple, pinnately veined, entire, elliptical, 3 to 6 inches long, dark green above, light green to whitish below.
Flower: Showy, deep pinkish-purple, funnel shaped, occurring in large (5 or more inches across) round clusters, appearing in late spring.
Fruit: Many tiny seeds borne in a long stemmed, red-brown, 5-parted capsule, 1/2 inch long, maturing in fall.
Twig: Stout, smooth or slightly pubescent, yellowish green, vegetative buds small, flower buds are large and egg-shaped.
Bark: Thin, light grayish brown, becoming finely scaly with age.
Form: A large shrub, 6 to 10 feet in height, equal spread, heavy dense foliage to the ground, becomes more open with age.
Looks like: great rhododendron
Additional Range Information: Rhododendron catawbiense is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. Download the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information