Smooth Azalea


Commonly know as "smooth" or "sweet" azalea, Rhododendron arborescens, is a very appealing large, native deciduous shrub noted for its strongly scented flowers and attractive fall foliage. Like the swamp azalea, it has fragant white to blush pink flowers, but the smooth azalea's flowers are distinctive because of its long red stamens. It blooms in late spring to early summer and attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, as well as other birds. Its individual flowers measure 1.5 to 2 inches across with a very strong fragrance similar to heliotrope.
Discovered by John Bartram in 1814, this species has a wide distribution in the eastern United States, but can usually be found growing wild near streams or moist areas. It is called "Smooth Azalea" because the stems are very smooth and do not have hairs similar to the other azaleas. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans if ingested.


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