Rhododendron is a dense, dense shrub. Wherever it grows, the naturally balanced habitat of wild flowers and seedlings cannot compete and cannot survive. Delicate, rare and sometimes ancient ecosystems are under threat of being overcome by this seemingly invincible plant. Complex bogland with its innumerable tiny plant species are being transformed into pretty pink desserts.
As the plant spreads further and further it is wiping out unique ecosystems which survived due inaccessibility, difficult terrain or because the land was so lacking in nutrients that it was never farmed. The Rhododendron seeds are being swept on the wind to lake islands where they out grow Juniper trees which have been established there for hundreds of years. It is growing in a thick blanket through ancient Oak forests in Co. Kerry, smothering everything in its path. The result of this is Oak stands which have thrived for hundreds of years might now be the last generation to successfully reseed.