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Rhododendron The plant rhododendron belongs to the family Ericaceae which also includes the Heath and there are about eight-hundred fifty species which grow worldwide Turner and Szczawinski 171-2 The Heath family is a large one with so many species all of the poisonous species fall into two of its subfamilies one of which is the rhododendron These cultivated plants occur naturally in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and in the mountains of Southeast Asia They are located in the Himalayas with seven-hundred species southwest China Burma and in New Guinea with over three-hundred species Turner and szczawinski 172 It has been popular as ornaments in gardens and has led to a major horticultural industry with its widely uses in landscaping There are twenty-seven species native to North America Turner172 and is the state plant of Washington This specific plant is called R macrophyllum or the Pacific rhododendron Pojar and Mackinnon 61 It forms a shrub layer in forests ranging from shoreline pine groves to stands of Douglas-fir and western Hemlock up in the mountains Usually they are located everywhere from homes to freeway sides and also in the forests The rhododendron shows a great variety in size habit and flower color colors from white to pink dark-purple yellow red and orange McKenzi1 They range from small shrubs to small trees with evergreen leaves that are leathery The leaves are short stalked simple and alternate and the flowers are large bell-shaped and born in dense clusters They are best grown on acidous soil with a ph of 45 and 65 included with lots of moisture and organic material McKenzie 3 The leaves flowers pollen and nectar of many rhododendron species contain several toxins Kingsbury 50 These toxins are called grayanotoxins or andromedotoxin a resinoid carbohydrate Kingsbury 51 It is prevalent in the flower nectar and has caused poisoning of bees and the honey produced The symptoms are similar to both humans
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