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 Azalea subsp. var.  
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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Azalea (from Greek azaleas, dry: Linnaeus believed them to grow in dry locations). Ericaceae. See Rhododendron.

The genus Azalea seems botanically inseparable from Rhododendron; there are no characters by which the two genera can be clearly separated, though if one looks only at the American species and those generally in cultivation, the differences seem to be clear enough, but if one takes into consideration the whole genus, particularly as it is represented in Asia, where it reaches its greatest development, one finds many species that have the characters of these two groups combined in various ways and render a natural and clear separation impossible.

Most of the species retain the same specific or varietal name under Rhododendron, except the following:

A. alba. Sweet-Rhododendron rosmarinifolium.—A. balsaminaeflora, Carr.-R. indicum var. rosiflorum.—A. californica, Buckl.-> R. occidentale.—-A. Danielsiana Paxt. R. indicum var. macranthum.—A. ledifolia, Hook.-R. rosmarinifolium.—A. liliiflora, Poir.-R. rosmarinifolium.—A. lutea. Linn.-R. calendulaceum.— A. mollis, Blume-R. sinense.—A. mollis, Miq.-R. japonicum.— A. mucronata, Blume-- R. rosmarinifolium.—A. pontica. Linn. - R. luteum.—A. procumbens, Linn.-Loiseleuria procurabens.— A. punicea, Sweet-R. rosmarinifolium.—A. reficulata, Koch-R. rhombicum.—A. Rollisonii. Hort.-R. indicum var. rosiflorum. —A. Sieboldii, Miq.—R. indicum.—A. speciosa, Willd.—R. calendulaceum.—A. squamata, Lindl.-K. Farrerae.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

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Rhododendron 'Hinodegiri'
Rhododendron 'Hinodegiri'
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Order: Ericales
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Family: Ericaceae
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Source: The Rhododendron page, and some research.


Azaleas are flowering shrubs making up part of the genus Rhododendron. Originally azaleas were classed as a different genus of plant, but now they are recognised as two of the eight sub-genera of rhododendrons - subgenus Pentanthera (deciduous), and subgenus Tsutsuji (evergreen).



A bush of azaleas.

One major difference between azaleas and the rest of the rhododendron genus is their size. Another is their flower growth; rhododendrons grow their flowers in stripers, while most azaleas have terminal blooms (one flower per flower stem). However, they have so many stems that during the flowering season they are a solid mass of colour. Azaleas are recognised by these flowers blooming all at once, in a showy display for a month or two in spring. The exception to this rule is a small group of azaleas which grow their flowers in tight terminal clusters.

An azalea flower close up

The Satsuki azalea group, derived from Rhododendron indicum and related species, are very popular.

A traditional alcoholic beverage made from azalea blossoms, called Tugyonju (literally "azalea wine"), is produced in Korea.[1]

Also, azaleas are the most common toxic plant that dogs ingest.[citation needed]


Plant enthusiasts have created azaleas for hundreds of years. This human genetic modification has produced over 10,000 different cultivars which are propagated by cuttings. Azalea seeds can also be collected and germinated.

Azaleas grow best in well-drained soil or in plant pots in a cool, shady position. They are easily damaged by excessive soil moisture and grow best in acidic soil (4.5 - 6.0 pH).[2] Fertilizer is optional, although some species do need regular pruning.

Several commercial nurseries in Semmes, Alabama, a suburb of Mobile, are major national suppliers of azaleas in the U.S.


Azalea leaf gall can be particularly destructive to azalea leaves during the early spring. Hand picking infected leaves is the recommended method of control. Information on azalea leaf gall can be found on Cornell University's Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic web site. Azalea Leaf Gall Fact Sheet

Fifty year old Azalea
A close up of a red azalea flower

See also



External links

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