The habitat of the yellow rhododendron

The Slovenian name ‘rumeni sleč’ (yellow alpine rose) as well as the scientific name Rhododendron ulteum got its name from the yellow color of its petals. The name azalea is commonly used as well, originating from the antiquated scientific name Azalea pontica. This name reveals the great distribution of the species, encompassing even the area of the Pontic mountains in Asia Minor. In addition to the three largest areas in Europe it is also present in a few small ones. One of those is the location near Boštanj, which is according to size the largest in Slovenia. 

The Boštanj habitat is defined as a natural treasure of national importance and is a part of the European ecological network Natura 2000. 

All indications point to the yellow rhododendron rose being naturally distributed in Slovenia, and it counts as a plant specialty because it appears at least 1000 km away from the larger distribution areas. This distance caused doubts at first about its natural distribution on our soil. The same habitat conditions in Slovenian deposits, the discovery of new deposits, and the distance they have in common point to the yellow rhododendron being a spontaneous indigenous species. 

There is 1300 known species of rhododendron so far in the world, 6 in Europe, of those 3 in Slovenia. In addition to the yellow rhododendron, there is also the rusty-leaved and hairy rhododendron, all of them toxic.