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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Rhododendron

The rhododendron is named from the Ancient Greek for ‘rose’ and ‘tree.’

There are around 1,000 species of rhododendron, which prefer cool climates with slightly acidic soil.


The plant was discovered by the 16th century Flemish botanist Charles l’Ecluse. The majority of rhododendrons are found in valleys bordering the Himalayas and in South East Asia.

Rhododendrons were introduced to the UK from the Alps in the 18th century.

The Old Cornish Red was planted in the 1890s by Victorian explorer Frederick Du Cane Godman in the gardens of the South Lodge Hotel in Horsham, West Sussex, England. It is Britain's widest single stemmed rhododendron and attracts visitors from around the world

Frederick Du Cane Godman, who planted the whopping Old Cornish Red, also gave his name to the diamond and emerald ‘Godman necklace’ often worn by the Queen.

All the parts of the rhododendron are toxic, especially the leaves. The plant produces the poison grayanotoxin in its leaves, flowers and nectar as a defense against insects.


Eating leaves from the plant, which is nicknamed ‘lambkill’, can lead to abdominal pain, convulsions and even death. They can kill an animal within hours and around 3.5oz of them can kill a small child.

Honey produced by bees made from rhododendron pollen or nectar can cause mild paralysis,
hallucinations, vertigo and loss of co-ordination in humans. This is known as mad honey disease.

Source Daily Mail

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