The Rhododendron Thermometer – D**n it’s cold!


I have a very large rhododendron “bush” outside my kitchen door by my patio.  It was here when I moved in 12 years ago and has gotten so tall I can see it out my upstairs bathroom window.  It is a beautiful thing, especially when it blooms in May.  I am lucky enough to have one in front of my house by my garage, too.

Some days during the winter I look out my window and it looks like this:

I was pretty freaked out the first time I saw this – I was afraid I had neglected to cover it, to protect it from the cold.  But after doing some research I found that this phenomenon is called a “thermotropic” reaction and is a natural reaction that helps prevent dehydration under conditions of extreme stress.

In this photo it is covered with snow but it’s not cold enough for the leaves to curl.   However they are drooping.

It’s a very accurate temperature indicator, so when I look outside and the leaves look like this, as they do today (18 degrees!), I say “D**n, it’s cold!”


About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
This entry was posted in Nature, Ohio, photography, Seasons, winter and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Rhododendron Thermometer – D**n it’s cold!

  1. Could you phonetically explain how one pronounces d**n?

  2. Eric says:

    Thanks! I never knew this. I count cricket chirps in the summer to get the temperatures; now I have something I can use in the winter! A rhododendron bush grows right outside my front window!

    • SallyK says:

      Live and learn, huh! Here’s a fun thing to do – this morning it was 18 degrees. I went outside and wrapped my hand around a curled leaf for about a minute. Sure enough it softened and started to uncurl. When I took my hand away it didn’t curl back up in front of my eyes but in just a few minutes it was curled up tight again! Thanks for stopping by…

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