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Rhododendron arboreum Sm.

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One of the most stately and impressive species rhododendrons, Tree Rhododendron is the state tree of Uttarakhand. This plant holds the Guinness Record for World's Largest and tallest Rhododendron. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.

Vernacular name: State Flower of Nagaland, State Tree of Uttarakhand

Angami: Nithu

English: Rose Tree, Tree Rhododendron

Garhwali: Burans

Hindi: Burans, Lal buransh

Kannada: Pu

Kashmiri: Cham, Kamri

Khasi: Dieng-tiw-saw

Kumaoni: Eras

Malayalam: Kattupoo varasu

Mao: LindaiBengali: Baras

Nepali: Lali gurans

Punjabi: Adrawal

Tamil: Alingi, Billi

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom: Plantae – plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta – land plants

Superdivision: Embryophyta

Division: Tracheophyta – vascular plants, tracheophytes

Subdivision: Spermatophytina – spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames

Class: Magnoliopsida

Superorder: Asteranae

Order: Ericales

Family: Ericaceae – heaths, éricacées

Genus: Rhododendron L. – azaleas, rhododendron

Species: Rhododendron arboreum Sm. - Rose Tree, Tree Rhododendron

Phytogeography: Scarlet rhododendron is native to Himalayas, from Kashmir eastwards to Nagaland. It is found in India, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Plant description: It is extremely variable in stature, hardiness, flower colour and leaf characteristics. Its species name arboreum means tree-like. In fact, a scarlet Rhododendron arboreum on Mt. Japfu, Nagaland reached a height of 20 meter. The trunk is often much branched, crooked or gnarled. Bark is reddish brown, soft and rough, exfoliating in thin flakes.

Leaves: Leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 10-20 cm long and 3.6 cm wide. Crowded towards the ends of branches, petiole covered with white scales when young. It is glossy green, with deeply impressed veins from above white fawn, cinnamon or

rusty brown felt is found at the under surface

Flowers: The flowers range in colour from a deep scarlet, to red with white markings, pink to white. Bearing up to twenty blossoms in a single truss this rhododendron is a spectacular sight when in full bloom. It is reported that the bright red forms of this rhododendron are generally found at the lower elevations. Flowers are showy, red in dense globose cymes. Calyx- fine cleft, Corolla-tube spotted funnel shaped, Stamens-hypozygnous declining, Filaments filiform, Anthers-ovate, Style-capitate.

Fruits or seeds: Fruit Capsule-curved central column composed of fine lobes, ribbed, up to 3.8 cm long and 1.25 cm wide. Seeds-minute, dark brown, compressed, thin linear having an obvolute membrane.

Flowering season: March-April and September-October

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings

Parts used: Bark, Flowers, Leaves

Phytochemical Constituents: (cis)-2-nonadecene; 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid; 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, dioctyl ester dioctyl phthalate; 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, ditridecyl ester; 14-b-H-pregna; 17-Pentatriacontene; 1-Docosanol; 1-Docosanol behenic alcohol; 1-Dodecene adacene; 1-Eicosanol n-eicosanol; 1-Naphthalenecarboxylic acid; 1-Naphthalenepropanol; 1-Octacosanol; 1-Tetradecene n-tetradec-1-ene; 2,6,10,14,18,22-Tetracosahexaene; 2-Hexadecen-1-ol; 2H-Pyran-2-one; 2H-Pyran-2-one, tetrahydro-6-tridecyl; 2-Pentadecanone, 6,10,14-trimethyl; 3-Eicosene; 9,12-Octadecadien-1-ol octadeca-9; 9,12-Octadecadienoic acid; 9,12-Octadecadienoic acid (Z,Z)-linoleic acid; 9,12-Octadecadienoic acid; 9,19-Cyclo-9b-lanostane-3.b.,25-diol; 9-Eicosene; 9-Octadecene; 9-Octadecenoic acid (Z)-oleic acid; Acetic acid 1-methyl-3-propenyl ester; Acetic acid 1-methyl-trimethyl-bicyclopropenyl ester; Acetic acid 3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-hexadeca-2,6,10,14-tetraenyl ester; Acetic acid, chloro-octadecyl ester; Acetic acid, tetramethyl-hexadecatetraenyl ester; Agathic acid; Campanulin; Coumaric acid; D:A-Friedoolean-6-ene; d-Norandrostane (5-a-,14. a.); Docosane n-docosane; Docosanoic acid; Dodecane n-dodecane; Dodecanoic acid; Eicosane; Eicosanoic acid; Epifriedelinol; Ericolin (arbutin); Farnesol; Flavone 4'-OH,5-OH,7-di-o-glucoside; Globulol; Glucoside; Heptadecanoic acid; Heptafluorobutyric acid; Heptafluorobutyric acid, n-octadecyl ester; Hexadecadienoic acid; Hyperoside; Isosteviol; Lanosterol; Linoleic acid; Methyl commate B; Methyl commate C; Methyl commate D; Neophytadiene; Nonacosane n-nonacosane; Nonadecane n-nonadecane; Octadecanal stearaldehyde; Octadecane; Octadecanoic acid; Olean-12-en-28-al; Palmitic acid; Pentadecane, 8-hexyl-8-n-hexylpentadecane; Pentafluoropropionic acid; Phthalic acid; Quercetin;  Quercetin-3-rhamnoside;  Rutin; Stigmast-5-en-3-b-ol; Taraxerol; Tetracontane; Tetracontane; Tetracosahexaene-hexamethyl; Tetradecane n-tetradecane; Tetratetracontane; Tetratetracontane n-tetratetracontane; Thiosulfuric acid

Urs-12-en-28-al; Ursolic acid; Vitamin E; α-amyrin;

Pharmacological actions: Adaptogenic; Analgesic; Antiageing; Antiarthritic; Antibacterial; Antibronchitic; Anticancer; Antidermatitic; Antidiabetic; Antidiarrhoeal; Antifungal; Antiicrobial; Antiinflammatory; Antileukemic; Antinociceptive; Antioxidant; Antioxidant; Antiplasmodic; Antiproliferative; Antipyretic; Antispasmodic; Antitumour; Antiulcerogenic; Hepatoprotective; Hypocholesterolemic; Vasodilator;

Medicinal uses: Blood pressure; Diarrhoea; Dysentery; Fever; Haemoptysis; Headache; Rheumatism; Wound;

The leaf paste applied to forehead in headache and fever as analgesic and antipyretic.

Other uses: The flowers eaten and are used for making chutneys and squash, also form important constituent of local wine, ‘Sur’ in Himachal Pradesh. Flowers are used in decoration of temples.

Wood is used chiefly for tea boxes, light packing cases and tools. The other possible uses are in ship building and match boxes. From its bark fragrances are made. Juice, jam and wine are prepared from the flower.

Dosage and administration: Powder 1-3 gm; Decoction 50-100 ml; Ayurvedic preparations: Asoka Aristha, Rohitakyadi churna

Adverse reactions:


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Prakash T., et al., 2008, “Hepatoprotective activity of leaves of Rhododendron arboreum in CCl4 induced hepatotoxicity in rats,” Journal of Medicinal Plants Research; 2(11):315-320. [Web Reference]

Prakash V., Rana S. and Sagar A., 2016, “Studies on Antibacterial activity of Leaf Extracts of Rhododendron arboreum and Rhododendron campanulatum,” Int. J. Curr. Microbiol. App. Sci; 5(4):315-322. [Web Reference]

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Swaroop A., Gupta A.P. and Sinha A.K., 2005, “Simultaneous Determination of Quercetin, Rutin and Coumaric Acid in Flowers of Rhododendron arboreum by HPTLC1,” Chromatographia; 62(11-12):649. [Web Reference]

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