rho·​do·​den·​dron | \ ˌrō-də-ˈden-drən How to pronounce rhododendron (audio) \

Definition of rhododendron

: any of a genus (Rhododendron) of widely cultivated shrubs and trees of the heath family with alternate leaves and showy flowers especially : one with leathery evergreen leaves as distinguished from a deciduous azalea

Illustration of rhododendron

Illustration of rhododendron

Examples of rhododendron in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This rhododendron blooms early at the end February. oregonlive, 10 Oct. 2021 Some ideas include sweet woodruff, hostas, ferns, bleeding heart, rhododendron, wild geranium, violets, trillium and hardy cyclamen. oregonlive, 24 July 2021 It is bordered by a sidewalk, a stone wall and a rhododendron that is doing quite well. oregonlive, 15 Aug. 2021 Deep in the canyon of the Dan, the air has a pale chartreuse hue from all the vegetation on the walls above, and the air smells faintly of blooming rhododendron and mint. Frank Sargeant, al, 8 Aug. 2021 In my experience, that’s a winding path—more tangle of rhododendron than straight-shot white pine. Katharine Wilkinson, Time, 19 July 2021 In the side yard, a magenta bud peeks out from a perky rhododendron. Washington Post, 16 July 2021 Others carried native understory saplings – laurel, rhododendron, dogwood, and redbud – up the wood chip path that now winds through the park. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 July 2021 In April 2019, an Indiana state nursery inspector noticed some suspicious brown spots on a rhododendron plant at a local Walmart. Ellie Shechet, The New Republic, 26 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rhododendron.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rhododendron

1657, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rhododendron

borrowed from New Latin (linnaeus), going back to Latin, "oleander, a plant of the Black Sea region described by Pliny whose honey is toxic (probably Rhododendron ponticum)," borrowed from Greek rhodódendron, from rhodo- rhodo- + déndron "tree" — more at dendr-

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The first known use of rhododendron was in 1657

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rhododendron.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhododendron. Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for rhododendron



English Language Learners Definition of rhododendron

: an evergreen bush that has large, bright flowers and that is often grown in gardens


rho·​do·​den·​dron | \ ˌrō-də-ˈden-drən How to pronounce rhododendron (audio) \

Kids Definition of rhododendron

: a shrub with leathery evergreen leaves and showy clusters of flowers

More from Merriam-Webster on rhododendron

Nglish: Translation of rhododendron for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rhododendron


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