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Word Count: 619
The plant rhododendron belongs to the familyEricaceae which also includes the Heath and there areabout eight-hundred fifty species which grow worldwideTurner and Szczawinski 171-2 The Heath family is alarge one with so many species all of the poisonousspecies fall into two of its subfamilies one of which isThese cultivated plants occur naturally in temperateregions of the northern hemisphere and in the mountains ofSoutheast Asia They are located in the Himalayas withseven-hundred species southwest China Burma and in NewGuinea with over three-hundred species Turner andszczawinski 172 It has been popular as ornaments ingardens and has led to a major horticultural industry withThere are twenty-seven species native to NorthAmerica Turner172 and is the state plant ofWashington This specific plant is called R macrophyllumor the Pacific rhododendron Pojar and Mackinnon 61 Itforms a shrub layer in forests ranging from shoreline pinegroves to stands of Douglas-fir and western Hemlock up inthe mountains Usually they are located everywhere fromhomes to freeway sides and also in the forestsThe rhododendron shows a great variety in sizehabit and flower color colors from white to pinkdark-purple yellow red and orange McKenzi1 Theyrange from small shrubs to small trees with evergreenleaves that are leathery The leaves are short stalkedsimple and alternate and the flowers are largebell-shaped and born in dense clusters They are bestgrown on acidous soil with a ph of 45 and 65 includedwith lots of moisture and organic material McKenzie 3The leaves flowers pollen and nectar of manyrhododendron species contain several toxins Kingsbury50 These toxins are called grayanotoxins orandromedotoxin a resinoid carbohydrate Kingsbury 51 It is prevalent in the flower nectar and has causedpoisoning of bees and the honey produced The symptomsare similar to both humans and all animals The humancases are that in which children chew the leaves and getthe poison in their system or when people drink tea madefrom the honey and plant Abrahams 2 It has beenreported that animals clip the leaves for boredom or whenthey get hungry as food
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