Habit: this rhododendron can grow to become a small tree up to 26 feet tall, but will typically stay contained to 10 feet in height or shorter. It has long, erect to straggling branches, lush with evergreen, leathery foliage. The blades are simple, alternate, and elliptical to oblong; leaf color is dark green above and pale green or rusty beneath. Margins are entire and slightly in-rolled. When mature, the plant produces gorgeous white to rose-purple, bell-shaped flowers. The blossoms have five lobes with ruffled margins and are borne in large clusters at the branch tips. Fruits are small, hairy seed capsules. The plant blooms from late spring to mid summer.
Ecology: it grows in moist to rather dry woodlands and forest edges, from sea level to 4,500 feet of elevation. It is found along the coast and to the foothills of the Cascades, from southwestern British Columbia to northern California.
Growing conditions: it favors moist to dry, well-drained soils in sun or shade. This is a versatile species, able to tolerate shade and nutrient deficient soils. It helps to control erosion and its thickets provide warm cover for wild animals during the cold months. In addition, the Pacific rhododendron is considered by many one of the most attractive of the Northwestern native shrubs. It was chosen as the state flower of Washington and many coastal communities celebrate it with festivals during its blooming time.