Scientific name Rhododendron ponticum invasive community
Common name Rhododendron invasive community
Community code IN1A

 

IN1A map: Rhododendron ponticum invasive community

Download full pdf synopsis: IN1A

 

Vegetation

This community represents dense, species-poor thickets of the invasive non-native Rhododendron ponticum occurring outside woodland. There are few other vascular plants; occasionally some persisting stems of Rubus fruitcosus agg. or Ulex europaeus, or rarely a scattering of Oxalis acetosella. Numerous woodland bryophytes may be found here in the shade, but they are largely infrequent and sparsely growing. The main mosses are Thuidium tamariscinum, which is constant, and Dicranum majus, which is frequent. Others include Dicranum scoparium, Hypnum cupressiforme, Mnium hornum and Rhytidiadelphus loreus.

Ecology

This community has currently only been recorded from the Connemara National Park, but undoubtably is more widespread, invading acidic heaths, grasslands, bogs and woodland margins.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities are described.

 

Similar communities

This is a straightforward community that is unlikely to cause confusion. Note, however, that Rhododendron is a common invader of the acidic oakwoods represented by the WL1 Quercus petraea – Luzula sylvatica group. When Rhododendron is encountered beneath such a canopy, communities of that group should be considered. As infestation progresses, stands are likely to become transitional between those communities and this one.

Conservation value

This is an invasive community, typically with very low conservation value, although the shaded and humid conditions can support rare bryophytes.

 

Management

Rhododendron thickets can be removed by cutting, uprooting or injection of herbicide. Follow-up work  is imperative to prevent reinfestation, for example spraying of regrowth, treatment of stumps and removal of seedlings.