Rosebay Rhododendron Community

Rosebay Rhododendron Community, Altavista, Campbell Co., Blue Ridge Wildflower Society

This unique ecological area at an elevation of 580-620 ft. includes a microclimate that has provided suitable growing conditions for several species of native plants that are not usually found in this part of the state. Century-old shrubs of Rhododendron maximum, rosebay rhododendron, which is usually found in the mountains, grow here along a creek. A proposed sewer line in Altavista would have destroyed much of the rhododendron site, but recognition as a VNPS Registry Site led to the choice of an alternate route. Among the disjunct species here are Woodwardia aerolata, netted chain fern, which is common on the Coastal Plain, and Stenanthium gramineum, featherbells, which is found mostly in the Alleghenies.