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rhododendron
Rhododendron L. (Ericaceae)
General description:
Rhododendrons are a diverse group of perennials, usually woody shrubs with evergreen or deciduous leaves, but include small subshrubs, epiphytes and trees. Most rhododendron species produce large, showy flowers. The 800-1000 species in the genus are found natively across North America, Europe, and most diversely in Asia. Very often associated with and dominant in mountainous areas, rhododendrons are particularly species-rich in the eastern Himalaya and southwest China.
History, uses and importance:
Beginning in the mid to late 19th century, European botanical explorers brought many Asian rhododendron species back to Europe where they were cultivated in botanical gardens. Different species were hybridized, and ongoing breeding efforts led to a great diversity of cultivated forms of rhododendrons. Rhododendrons are now popular ornamental shrubs, grown in temperate and subtemperate regions around the world. Rhododendron ponticum is invasive across many parts of the British Isles.

Rhododendrons are horticulturally important because of their vivid floral colors and copious blooms. Their flowering time is an important seasonal indicator in some of areas, including Southwest China and New England. Beyond this visual salience, rhododendrons have also been used as food (flowers), wood (firewood and craft), medicine, incense, and ritual. Rhododendrons are a nectar source for diverse floral visitors, including honey bees; rhododendron honey is notable for the grayanotoxins which may make it medicinal or toxic. The earliest references to rhododendron ethnobotany are medicinal but rhododendron honey poisoning remains a current issue.
Comprehensive museum links:
Artefacts Canada, Azalea
Artefacts Canada, Rhododendron
Artefacts Canada, Rhododendron
Artefacts Canada, Labrador Tea
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Annotated Checklist of Cultivated Plants of Hawai?i, Rhododendron
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Pacific Biological Survey (PBS), Papuan Plants, A Bishop Museum Project, Ericaceae/Rhododendron, Photos 1-25, 40-51, 89-129, 208-234, 290-303, 340-358,371-382, 414-423
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Taxonomic Search, Search in Genus Rhododendron
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Taxonomic Search, Rhododendron championae
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Taxonomic Search, Rhododendron hongkongense (Japanese Azalea)
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Taxonomic Search, Rhododendron moulmainense (Japanese Azalea)
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Taxonomic Search, Rhododendron simsii (Japanese azalea)
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Taxonomic Search, Rhododendron arboretum (National Flower of Nepal)
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Taxonomic Search, Rhododendron luteum (poisonous)
The British Museum, Rhododendron
The British Museum, Labrador tea/included Dolls that store the tea
The British Museum, Rhododendron ponticum
The British Museum, Rhododendron arboretum
The British Museum, Azalea
The Chicago Field Museum, Botany Department, Search Rhododendron
The Chicago Field Museum, Ericaceae Rhododendron catawbiense image
The Chicago Field Museum, Economic Botany, Rhododendron
The Chicago Field Museum, Botany Detailed Search, Search Rhododendron
The Chicago Field Museum, vTypes Collection Database, Search Rhododendron in ?Genus?
Godalming Museum, UK, Mention of pioneer Rhododendron grower Edwin Lutyens, mentor to famous gardener Gertrude Jekyll, born on Nov. 29, 1843.
Godalming Museum, UK, Mention Rhododendron, in museum cabinet dedicated to famous gardener Gertrude Jekyll, born on Nov. 29, 1843
Rijksmuseum, Rijksstudio, Azalea
Rijksmuseum, Rijksstudio, Rhododendron
Victoria and Albert Museum, Rhododendron
Victoria and Albert Museum, Azalea
Natural history museum links:
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, Global Red List of Japanese Threatened Plants, Rhododendron
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, Living Vascular Plants, Rhododendron
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, Natural History Collection Database, Rhododendron
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, Type Specimen Database, Rhododendron
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, Vascular Plants (Specimens), Rhododendron
Natural History Museum, London, Botany Collection, Rhododendron
Natural History Museum, London, Library and Archives, Rhododendron
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology Collections, Type ?Rhododendron? into ?Keyword search?
UK Science Museum, Rhododendron
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, rhododendron
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, azalea
History museum links:
Minnesota Historical Society, Rhododendron
Art museum links:
British Council: Visual Arts, Azalea
British Council: Visual Arts, Bluebells, Cornflowers, and Rhododendrons
British Council: Visual Arts, Rhododendron
Goldstein Museum of Design, Azalea
Images D?art database: http://art.rmngp.fr/en, Rhododendron
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Azalea
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rhododendron
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Azalea
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Rhododendron
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Azalea
Portland Museum of Art, No public access to links to copy: Use search terms (in title bar): Rhododendron, azalea. Advanced Search link:
Rochester Art Center, MN, Hyper Detail Flower Exhibit
Tate, UK, Azalea
Tate, UK, Azaleas
Tate, UK, Rhododendron
Tate, UK, Rhododendrons
Anthropology museum links:
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Azalea
Library links:
Missouri Botanical Garden Biocultural Collections, Rododendron
Missouri Botanical Garden Peter H. Raven Library, Azalea
Missouri Botanical Garden Peter H. Raven Library, Rhododendron
New Orleans Public Library, partners with NATFAB, Rhododendron
New Orleans Public Library, partners with NATFAB, Azalea
New Orleans Public Library, partners with NATFAB, Azaleas
New Orleans Public Library, partners with NATFAB, Labrador tea
UC San Diego, Rhododendron
UC San Diego, Azalea
 
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