Sorting out the Genus Rhododendron: A Taxonomic Overview of this Large Complex of Species

There are 1,024 naturally occurring, mostly Asian, species of rhododendrons, the largest genus in the Ericaceae, or heath family. How are all these magnificently diverse plants classified, and by what criteria do the botanists even begin to separate them? Now, with genetic and chemical analyses, their relationships to each other are becoming clearer. Learn about the unique morphological features which have been used in rhododendron taxonomy, and the latest work being done to clarify the different species’ scientific placement within the genus. After a short historical introduction with a bit about botanical art, the slide presentation will illustrate (literally) the overall evolutionary trend of the genus. By showing approximately 2/3 of the type species of the different subsections and subgenera in taxonomic order (including plants from other genera which have recently been placed in Rhododendron), we will arrive at a simplified understanding of this large genus.

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