Rhododendron canescens

Today, another thank you to Earl Blackstock of the eastern US for sending along via email another of his photographs of an azalea to share. Much appreciated!

Rhododendron canescens is known by a variety of common names. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Native Plant Database provides a list of seven, including southern pinxterflower (I’d really like to know what pinxter means — is it some relation to pinkster?

This species is native to southeastern USA, where it inhabits “moist to dry woods, pocosins, swamps and savannas, often along streams“, according to the Flora of North America (pocosin). The scent of the flowers is described as “delicate, sweet fragrance“, likely the reason for the common name wild honeysuckle in some areas (true honeysuckles are very distantly related from azaleas).

A bit of additional reading today, if you’re so inclined: They Don’t Complain and They Die Quietly, a reflection by a son about his father’s garden and a transgenerational affection for plants.

Rhododendron canescens

14 responses to “Rhododendron canescens”

  1. phillip

    azaleas’ in hawaii…Rhododendrons’ in golden gate park san francisco…pinxter sounds like a pet name…’miss pink-ster’…like a friend…
    great quality photo…thank you…!

  2. Wendy Cutler

    Pinxter seems to be a religious term. From http://www.yourdictionary.com/pinxter-flower:

    Origin: From Pinkster, Pinxter, Whitsuntide, from obsolete Dutch pinxter, from Middle Dutch, ultimately from Greek pentēkostē, Pentecost; see Pentecost.

    And from http://hubpages.com/hub/Striking-North-American-Shrubs:

    The old fashioned words, “Whitsuntide” and “pinxter ” are terms most of us today aren’t familar with. What they refer to is the seventh Sunday and 50th day after Easter).
    In old time European religions, white robes were worn by those baptized on Whitsunday (White Sunday)… .

  3. bev

    Daniel;
    Thanks for the great reading reference. As a pathologist who also spent my career with dead people (or who soon would be from the cancer I diagnosed), I have always found the same refuge in plants. And yes, I am still reading, though I don’t comment much anymore.
    Coming to UBC in August to visit your garden; very excited!
    bev

  4. bev

    Daniel;
    Thanks for the great reading reference. As a pathologist who also spent my career with dead people (or who soon would be from the cancer I diagnosed), I have always found the same refuge in plants. And yes, I am still reading, though I don’t comment much anymore.
    Coming to UBC in August to visit your garden; very excited!
    bev

  5. Bonnie

    WOW! This is gorgeous! Really made my eyes open with happiness first thing in the morning!

  6. digitaldunes

    From the OED
    • ‖ pinkster U.S. (N.Y.)
    (ˈpɪŋkstə(r))
    Also pingster, pinxter.
    [Du. pinkster (now pinxteren dat. pl.) = OS. pincostôn, MHG., Ger. pfingsten:—OHG. *pfinkustin (dat. pl.), all prob. through Gothic paintêkustê, a. Gr. πεντηκοστή Pentecost.]
    Whitsuntide; usually in attrib. use: see quots.
       1821 J. F. Cooper Spy (1823) III. v. 127 Upon my word you’d pass well at a pinkster frolic.    1845 ― Satanstoe I. vi. 162 Pinkster fields, and Pinkster frolicks, are no novelties to us, sir, as they occur every season.    1860 Bartlett Dict. Amer. s.v., On Pinxter Monday the Dutch negroes‥consider themselves especially privileged to get as drunk as they can.    1866 Treas. Bot., Pinxter-flower, an American name for Azalea nudiflora.

  7. digitaldunes

    From the OED
    • ‖ pinkster U.S. (N.Y.)
    (ˈpɪŋkstə(r))
    Also pingster, pinxter.
    [Du. pinkster (now pinxteren dat. pl.) = OS. pincostôn, MHG., Ger. pfingsten:—OHG. *pfinkustin (dat. pl.), all prob. through Gothic paintêkustê, a. Gr. πεντηκοστή Pentecost.]
    Whitsuntide; usually in attrib. use: see quots.
       1821 J. F. Cooper Spy (1823) III. v. 127 Upon my word you’d pass well at a pinkster frolic.    1845 ― Satanstoe I. vi. 162 Pinkster fields, and Pinkster frolicks, are no novelties to us, sir, as they occur every season.    1860 Bartlett Dict. Amer. s.v., On Pinxter Monday the Dutch negroes‥consider themselves especially privileged to get as drunk as they can.    1866 Treas. Bot., Pinxter-flower, an American name for Azalea nudiflora.

  8. Earl Blackstock

    Knowledge is beauty and beauty is knowledge. Those words describe the beautiful pictures and accompaning write-ups on Botany Photo of the Day.
    Thank you UBC Botanical Garden, Thank you Daniel,
    and thank you to the many contributors who make BPotD a unique and mandatory pleasure.

  9. Dale

    Daniel,
    Thank you for the awesome picture to start my day.
    What a wonderful site. Thank you so much.

  10. Hugh

    Pocosin: learned something today Daniel. That’s a great one to break the ice at the next cocktail party!

  11. bleitz

    Thank you for the lovely flowers. They remind me of my daughters and grand daughters in their may day gowns.

  12. wendy

    Lovely photo! I suppose I am too late to add to the discussion… Pinxter sounds indeed so like the German word Pfinsten. I had always assumed and indeed still do, that the use of the word Pinxter was a reference to the blooming time of this plant. Pfingsten is often used like this in Germanic countries as in for example: Pfingstrose for Paeony. I think it refers to 5 days after Easter when Jesus is supposed to have fulfilled a promise to walk again on earth.

  13. Rebecca

    Thank you so much for a plant from the Southeast! I love your amazing & beautiful plants from the Northwest, but it is so nice to get one that I recognize and have used in designs!
    Thanks also for the site, a wonderful source for awe inspiring photos and information.

  14. Barry Wood

    Great photo of a beautiful plant. I have a version of this growing on my wooded hillside in Arlington, Virginia. On mine, the flowers are darker pink in the bud; slightly darker pink in bloom. Also, it starts blooming before any foliage appears (which makes me wonder if it is really R. nudiflorum.)
    It has produced a few young plants from seeds dropped from the “mother.” The mother is about eight feet tall, despite competition from a young maple tree growing very close to it. I estimate that the maple is about 30 years old; the azalea is surely much older than that, because it is rather slow growing and was already six feet tall when I purchased this property some 24 years ago.

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