Rhododendron minus var. minus

(Rhododendron carolinianum)

(R. minus - Michaux in Fl. Bor. Amer., Vol. 1 (1803))

(R. carolinianum- Rehnder in Rhodora, Vol. 14 (1912) 99)

Common Names: Piedmont rhododendron

by Susannah G. Cooper

R. minus var. minus photographed by Robert. J. Mckenzie

Kingdom: Plantae

Class: Dicotyledones

Order: Ericales

Family: Ericaceae

Subfamily: Rhododendroidae

Tribe: Rhododendreae

Genus: Rhododendron



Seed: R.minus' seed is round and not winged. It is 0.75-1mm long. The seed coat is a glossy yellow-brown and ribbed[1].

Seedling: R. minus' hypocotyl is light green and finely grooved. The cotyledons are about 2mm long. There are tow types of epicotyl: a few short multicellular hairs or "several very short-stalked or sessile, peltate hairs" [1].

Mature Plant: R. minus, also know as R. carolinianum, is a shrub which is mostly found along stream banks, wooded slopes in the lower mountains and plains. It typically grows 92m-2.44m high.. The plant is a compact shrub. The leaves are about 4.6-10.8cm long and 1.8-4.6cm wide and are elliptic, oblong-lanceolate, or lanceolate in shape. The topside of the leaf is a dark or pale green and slightly convex. The underside is a brown and scaly [2]. The flower bud is terminal; it is green-brown and 7-10mm long [3]. The flowers bloom from May to June with inflorescences which contain 4-12 flowers. The flowers are funnel-shaped; its size ranges from about 2-3cm. The flower coloration is pink to white. The flower has 10 stamens, about 1.3-3cm in length [2]. The capsule is oblong, about 8-10mm in length [3].






North America: Canada; continental U.S. Yes Swanson 1994
eastern North America: U.S. east of the Mississippi; Ontario, eastern Canada Yes Swanson 1994
southern U.S: AL, AR, DE, DC, FL, GA, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV Yes, usually found in mountainous regions Swanson 1994
southern Appalachian states: AL, GA, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV Yes Swanson 1994
Coastal Plain No Mellinger 1984
Piedmont Yes Mellinger 1984
Blue Ridge Yes Mellinger 1984
Blue Ridge- Great Smoky Nat'l Park Yes Mellinger 1984
Ridge and Valley Yes Mellinger 1984
Cumberland Plateau Marginally Mellinger 1984
Central Arch ? -
Georgia Yes Mellinger 1984
Georgia, Clarke County Yes Mellinger 1984
Georgia, Clarke County, Sam's Farm   No, information; possibly- it grows on lower mountains and plains



R. minus is native to North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Andre Michaux was collecting plants for the French government in the Appalachian mountians and discover this species. He first decribed as a variety R. minus by Michaux in Flora Boreali America in 1803. In 1912, Rehder called the species R. carolinianum in Rhodora. The name was later change later to R. minus var. R. minus. Both names are still closely associated with the species. In my research, many sources refered to the species by both names [7].



Please refer to cultivation section on genus page.

[1] Hedgaard, J. Morphological Studies in Genus Rhododendron: Dealing with Fruits, Seeds, Seedling and their Associated Hairs. G. E. C. Gads Publishing House: Copenhagen.

[2] Davidian, H. H. 1982. Rhododendron Species Vol I: Lepidotes. Timber Press: Portland. p.91-95.

[3] Swanson, R .E. 1994. A Field Guide of the Trees and Shrubs of the Southern Appalachians. John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore. p. 305-308

[4] Duncan, W. H. and Duncan, M. B. 1988. Trees of the Southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press: Athens, GA. p.220

[5] Mellinger, M. B. 1984. Atlas of Vascular Flora of Georgia. Studio Designs Printing: Milledgeville, GA.

[6] Street, J. 1987. Rhododendrons. Globe Pequot Press: Chester, Connecticut. p15-18.

[7] Kneller, M. 1995. The Book of Rhododendrons. Timber Press, Portland. p66