The locals will warn about eating honey made with too much nectar bees collect from rhododendron. They say you will get "mad honey intoxication" that lasts no more that 24 hours. The nectar contains grayanotoxin. The result can be weakness, dizziness, confusion, etc. If this nectar is combined with that of a great number of other flowers there is no concern. Let's just enjoy the beauty of the rhododendon and eat clover honey, the favorite of the father of the writer's wife.
The Coastal Rhododendron is the state flower of Washington State.
The flower's nickname there is Rhodies.
90% of rhododendrons are found in S.W. Asia.
There is a toxin in the leaves and the flowers that is dangerous to humans and animals.
Xenophon, a Greek military leader, historian and writer, recorded, in his Anabasis,"strange behavior of a group of Greek soldiers who had eaten honey made by bees from rhododendron flowers."
300 years later, in 67 B.C., Kateuas advised King Mithridates, King of Portus, concerning the "mad honey." King Mithridates claimed descent from King Cyrus of Persia (Iran) and from generals of Alexander (the Great, as the Romans dubbed him).
Roman General Pompey was at war with Mithridates. The Roman Empire was spreading east. The soldiers of Mithridates were ordered not to eat the local honey; the soldiers of Pompey enjoyed much mad honey and, when they were out of their minds, the men of Mithradate slaughtered them. This slowed the expansion of the Roman Empire, but just a bit.
Pliny the Elder (23-75 A.D.) mentioned mad honey in his Natural History."
Grazing sheep have gotten sick and some have died from eating them, as well as eating clippings from the beautiful plant.