Botany and Ecology

Rhododendron

Rhododendron is a major feature of the landscape on the southern Ring of Kerry as well as some other regions. When in flower, it is a major tourist attraction and is featured in advertising brochures.

However, there is a certain ambivalence about it as it spreads very aggressively and, being evergreen, can block out sunlight on plants of the shrub and herb layers of the oak forest of Killarney National Park.

Since the oak has a very open canopy, allowing sunlight to penetrate and benefit lower-growing species, oak forest is naturally a very rich and varied habitat. The unchecked spreading rhododendron seriously threatens this variety. There are also obvious implications for the fauna of the area.

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