Rhododendron minus Michx.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron minus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-minus/). Accessed 2021-04-10.



  • Rhododendron punctatum Andrews
  • Rhododendron cuthbertii Small
  • Rhododendron carolinianum Rehd.

Other taxa in genus


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
Narrowing gradually to a point.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Lance-shaped; broadest in middle tapering to point.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rhododendron minus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/rhododendron/rhododendron-minus/). Accessed 2021-04-10.

Shrub, 2(-5) m; young shoots sparsely scaly. Leaves (1-)5.5-8(-11) x (1.8-)2.5-3.5(-5) cm, elliptic to broadly elliptic, lower surface densely covered with small-rimmed brownish scales. Pedicels scaly. Flowers 5-8, in a dense inflorescence; calyx lobes 1-2 mm; corolla white to pink, usually with greenish flecks, (21-)25-30(-35) mm, tube scaly, occasionally also hairy on outside, pubescent within; stamens 10; ovary scaly, style more or less glabrous. Flowering May-June. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)

Distribution  United States E & S

RHS Hardiness Rating H6

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

An evergreen bush up to 20 ft high in the wild, sometimes taller; young shoots rough with scales. Leaves oval-lanceolate to narrowly obovate, tapering at both ends, the apex usually acuminate, 112 to 3 in. long, 12 to 112 in. wide, dark green and nearly glabrous above, thickly dotted beneath with minute red-brown scales; stalk 14 to 12 in. long. Flowers in dense terminal trusses, opening in June; pedicels up to 34 in. long. Calyx-lobes very short. Corolla 1 to 112 in. wide, funnel-shaped, pale pinkish purple, spotted on the upper side with brownish-red, densely scaly on the outside. Stamens ten, hairy at the base. Ovary scaly; style glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 2285. (s. Carolinianum)

Native of the south-eastern USA from South Carolina to Georgia and Alabama; introduced in 1786. As seen in this country it is inferior to its ally R. carolinianum, from which it differs in its more pointed leaves, in the corollas being densely scaly on the outside, and in their longer tubes, 23 in. or more long. It also flowers later, usually in June.

For the hybrids of R. minus, see p. 834.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

R. carolianinum was separated from R. minus by Rehder in 1912; for the distinguishing characters he gave, see under R. carolinianum (page 623). But according to Duncan & Pullen, in an overlooked paper published in Brittonia, Vol. 14, p. 297 (1962), these differences do not hold good when a wide range of specimens is examined.

The merger means that R. minus becomes a very variable species horticulturally, but this is true also of the plants that have hitherto been grown under one or the other name, so there might be difficulty in defining a Carolinianum group.

var. chapmanii (A. Gray) Duncan & Pullen R. chapmanii A. Gray – See under R. carolinianum, page 624. Another difference is that the wild plants have erect, rigid branches.

var. chapmanii (A.Gray) Duncan & Pullen

R. chapmanii A.Gray

Leaf apex obtuse or retuse; branches erect and rigid. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)


  • United States – Florida

RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

var. minus

R. carolinianum Rehder

Leaf apex acute or acuminate; branches usually not erect and rigid. Royal Horticultural Society (1997)


  • United States – Tennessee to Alabama

AM 1968 (Col N.R. Colville, Launceston, Cornwall) as R. carolinianum; flowers Red-Purple.