Index- plants in this Family
Ericaceae / Heaths
Great Laurel (Rhododendron maximum)
Great Laurel is also known as Rosebay and White Laurel.

Plant Type: This is a tree and is a evergreen which can reach a height of 10 Meters (33 feet ) .
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 25cm in length (10inches). Leaves can be as wide as 7.5 cm (3inches). Each stiff, leathery leaf is entire and oblanceolate tapering at both ends.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape and are up to 4cm wide (1.6 inches). They are white to pink sometimes reddish, the upper lobe having a patch or green spots. Blooms first appear in early summer and continue into late summer. The flowers in an often large terminal umbel.
Habitat: Moist woods and banks in upland areas seldom above 1000m (3300') . Often in dense stands along streams.
Range: Mountainious region of the eastern United States into Canada.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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This large shrub or small tree is a common feature of damp mountain slopes and stream banks. It's tangled trunks and branches can be almost impassable to the cross country traveler. The flower clusters are showy and well known to summer visitors to the mountains or our area.

Lore: This plant is common in the traditional range of the Cherokee who used it medicinally and carved the wood into items such as spoons and pipes. To bring cold weather they would dance around a fire on which the leaves had be placed.(Hamel/Chiltoskey)

Similar Species: Catawba rosebay (Rhododendron catawbiense) is a smaller plant (to 6m) with slightly larger pink or rose flowers and more rounded (ovate) leaves. It's range is limited to the southern Appalachian Mountains form Virginia to Alabama.

See the links below this image for other images. (1)
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Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum) Close view of flowers  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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