Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Beauty of Azaleas

Having grown up in Mobile, I never really appreciated this lovely evergreen shrub until I moved away and returned home.  And even then, the azaleas were just something that you knew would be there for a few weeks in the spring. Until I started this blog, I never even looked closely at an azalea blossom.  I found some lovely photos from the Azalea Society of America. So while I am waiting for Mobile to burst into full bloom, here are some samples of this beautiful shrub, which is sometimes known as the "royalty of the garden."

Azaleas are in the genus rhododendron. There are differences between the two. One is in the number of stamens on the flowers--azaleas have five or six and most rhododendrons have ten. 

There are a couple of other differences between azaleas and rhododendrons. One difference is in the leaves.  Azalea leaves are thinner, softer, and more pointed than rhododendron leaves.
The underside of azalea leaves also have 'hairs' which are long, straight, and parallel to the leaf's surface.

Another difference is on the underside of the leaf. The underside of an azalea leaf, when magnified, is free from 'scales,' or lepidotes, whereas the rhododendron leaves are covered with them.

I lived in Virginia for several years, where the rhododendrons were plentiful. My recollection of them was in their size--their bushes were quite large, and had more greenery visible during the bloom season.



  1. They are very pretty. I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures! I really like the white ones.

  2. You don't see a lot of the white ones. That's what makes them so special.

  3. I have white ones in my backyard and they are just about ready to pop. I'm excited. It looks so fresh in the spring.

  4. Be sure and take some pictures!