Native Rhododendron Germplasm Repository

Bright pink blooms of a native deciduous azalea with white text that reads: Native Rhododendron Germplasm Repository.

In the spring of 2020, Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens launched a new curatorial initiative to develop a Native Rhododendron Germplasm Repository focusing on the species, and selections of those species, that are native to the eastern United States. 

This is a multi-faceted, long-term project that will never truly end, but the primary goals of this Germplasm Repository are to:

  1. Acquire plants, cuttings, and/or seeds from known wild populations, grow them, plant them, and allow access to all who would like to view them.
  2. Collect rare, unusual, and exceptional specimens.
  3. Display and actively promote the ornamental value of these beautiful plants through programs, publications, and guided tours of the collection.

This project is important for several reasons, but species conservation and specimen preservation are among the most important.  Several of the native species have a very limited natural range and are extremely rare in the wild.  Because of changing environmental conditions and residential and commercial development in many parts of their range, this project, and others like it, will be vital in preserving these species.  As a member of the Plant Collections Network, Jenkins actively collaborates with nurseries, other botanical institutions, botanists, collectors, and breeders to discover, evaluate, select, propagate, and exchange plants.  This sharing ensures that there is duplication and that the plants will not be lost forever. 

Click here for more information about native rhododendrons at Jenkins, including a list of plants in the collection as of September 2020.

Click here to download:
A Guide to the Native Rhododendrons at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens.

Please consider making a contribution to support this innovative plant collection project. Your support for this project will help us acquire and distribute these plants and continue making the Arboretum a great place to enjoy these treasured plants of our eastern forests. For contributions, please send a check payable to “Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens” with “Rhododendron Project” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to:

Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens
631 Berwyn Baptist Road
Devon, PA 19333