"The rhododendrons stood fifty foot high"

 The rhododendrons at Manderley are described later in the text as being 'blood-red'.


Red rhododendrons
Creative Commons AttributionRed rhododendrons - Credit: SyGuildmistress

Rhododendron is a genus of flowering shrubs and trees which contains over a 1,000 species. The plant is prolific in the Himalayas and commonplace in parts of Korea, Japan and Taiwan. It is the national flower of Nepal.

Rhododendrons were first introduced to the British Isles in the late 18th century and became highly popular in Victorian gardens. However, in certain parts of Britain, the spreading into the wild of the species Rhododendron ponticum  is now seen as a significant threat to native flora and fauna. A little known fact about Rhododendron ponticum is that eating honey made from its nectar or pollen has, on rare occasions, caused a range of unpleasant symptoms, including hallucinations, vertigo and lack of co-ordination, collectively known as  mad honey disease!