Rhododendron austrinum and Rhododendron flammeum

Thanks again to Earl Blackstock for submitting photographs of some of the native azaleas of the eastern USA. The first photograph — Rhododendron austrinum — was taken by Earl’s granddaughter Libby on April 20. The other image, Rhododendron flammeum, was taken in the past few days. A couple years ago, Earl submitted a photograph of a related azalea, Rhododendron periclymenoides.

Both of today’s azaleas and the one submitted a couple years ago are deciduous azaleas and hence members of the section Pentanthera (one of eight sections within the genus Rhododendron). Rhododendron austrinum, or the Florida azalea, is native to Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Oconee azalea (Rhododendron flammeum) is found in one fewer state and slightly further northeast: Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

The late Hal Bruce, former plant taxonomist at Winterthur Gardens, wrote extensively about deciduous azaleas in this article for the Quarterly Bulletin of the American Rhododendron Society: “Deciduous Azaleas at Winterthur“. For more information, and particularly photographs, you’ll also want to visit David Royster’s Virtual Rhododendron Garden (see: Native & Deciduous Azaleas of the Piedmont). The photographs on Royster’s site also show part of the range of flower colour variation within these species. For growing information and more, Earl has suggested Henning’s Rhododendron and Azalea Pages.

Rhododendron austrinum
Rhododendron flammeum

11 responses to “Rhododendron austrinum and Rhododendron flammeum”

  1. sandyinz4

    Wow! Lucky people who have these beauties blooming in their yeards. Beautiful pics…about the only way some of us will ever see them. Thanks!

  2. Sheila

    Stunning. Thank you.

  3. Eric in SF

    The genes of many of these species live on in commercial Azalea hybrids. The British were very excited to get the first Rhododendrons from the American Southeast back in the 19th century as the new species greatly helped their hybridization efforts.

  4. elizabeth a airhart

    lovely i live in florida
    the azaleas were lovely this year
    i was born in new jersey spring time trips
    to the watchchung mountains to view
    rhododerons and dogwood and azaleas was a must
    thank you

  5. Theresa

    Oh, my! Gorgeous!

  6. Annie Morgan

    Wonderful photos, thank for them.

  7. cambree

    Lovely! I never seen them in these colors. Only in pink, red, or white.

  8. Gabrielle

    The climate of coastal southern New England is also perfect for Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Visitors to Rhode Island might like to visit the Kinney Azalea Garden in Kingston
    http://www.kinneyazaleagardens.com/ and the nearby University of Rhode Island Botanical Garden,
    which also has Rhodies and Azaleas.

  9. Earl Blackstock

    I clicked your link “Native & Deciduous Azaleas of the Piedmont” to click on ” R. calendulaceum on the Round Bald ” and found the most wonderful photo. After viewing I understand why the early settlers in viewing the Flame azalea for the first time from a distance, described it as fire on the mountain.
    I must visit Round Bald.

  10. R. Parker

    R. austrinum is wonderfully fragrant, as are many of the deciduous azaleas. As important as the lovely colors, in my opinion.

  11. Margaret-Rae Davis

    It is so nice to see these lovely Photographs. The colours a so different than any others I have seen.
    Thank you,

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