High Weald
rhodoWanted for: invading and, ultimately, destroying important wildlife habitiats such as acid woodland and heathland - on whose poor, acid soils it grows best.
Originally from: the Mediterranean. Introduced in 1763.
Latin name: Rhododendron ponticum (Other Rhododendron species are not invasive. R. 'Purple Splendour' - similar to R. ponticum - is a good substitute).
Distinguising features: beautiful but deadly. Big pink flowers and shiny, evergreen leaves. Grows up to 3m high.
Super Invasive Powers: tolerates shade: can get to parts other plants cannot reach. Evergreen and casts a dense shade itself. Unpalatable and toxic - nothing eats it. One flower head produces 3-7,000 seeds, thus a large bush may produce several million tiny seeds per year: these are dispersed widely by wind. Can also regenerate by vegetative means (without flowers and seeds). Cut stumps regenerate vigorously unless chemically treated.