Piedmont Azalea – Characteristics

Q: We have a tree, growing in wooded areas but mostly found along the banks of a small stream which runs into Lake Oconee. It flowered about the same time as the dogwood and just in the last week has started to leaf out. The circular cluster of blooms look like honeysucke blooms. There are at least 12 blooms to a cluster. The blooms are pink and very fragrent. The leaves are ovate (possibly elliptical), leaves have smooth margins, leaves are alternate, venation is pennate, bark is smooth , tree height is 10′ to 15′ tall.

A: Theresa Schrum replies: “From your description, the plant you saw was probably one of our native azaleas and more than likely the Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens).

Our native azaleas are more tree-like and can be as large as a dogwood tree. They are also deciduous. Check out this web site for a series of pictures: East Coast Native Azaleas

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