Wild Azalea

angelajgoodApril 7, 2008

I have a friend who has this growing in his backyard. The woman he bought the house from about 10 years ago told him that it was a 'wild azalea' and she apparently bought it and paid quite a bit of money for it.

It is in full bloom right now, so I wanted to post a photo and see if anyone can help identify what type it is and tell me where I could buy one, if possible.

If I can't find a source, I would love to try to grow one from a cutting or seed or however that could possibly be done. I understand that some azaleas are very difficult to propogate, but I would appreciate any information on this particular one.

It smells wonderful! The blooms last a very short time; probably about a week. It is a beautiful, graceful delicate looking tree.

Thanks for any help.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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It could be one of the native azaleas like Florida Azalea, properly known as rhododendron austrinum or a variety of rhododendron flammeum.

Check out the pictures of my rhododendron austrinum or the picture of Sherry's flammeum Sherry's flammeum.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:23PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It looks like rhododendron austrinum to me. This wild azalea has lots of cultivars, some pure yellow, some a mixture of orange and yellow with red splotches, some bigger than others. I've planted a lot of types in my woods.
I suppose this could be r. calendulaceum, a native of the mountains of the Southeast, but I don't think so.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:27PM
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That is right! I forgot about calendulaceum as well.

angelajgood, austrinum is an early blooming variety that "starts the show" around the end of March or early April. Flammeum starts blooming in early April to very late in April. Calendulaceum begins early-to-mid May. As always, Mother Nature says these dates are subject to change without notice.

Here is a link that might be useful: R. calendulaceum

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 8:08AM
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Luis, I think you might be right about the R. calendulaceum. I looked up lots of info on it and it seems to fit. I think that I was confused because when I have seen this one in bloom, it still has unopened buds on the top of the ball of blooms (for lack of a better term) so it looks more like a half sphere than a sphere. The unopened buds are much more fiery than the opened blooms. Once I found a photo like that I was convinced.

I found one site that said it tends to be scraggly, especially if grown in shade and this one is. It is more like a tree, not a shrub and the branches are open and airy. The one thing that doesn't fit is that it is not supposed to be fragrant. This one is very fragrant and the scent is in the air from quite a bit away. It reminds me of honeysuckle. Perhaps this one just didn't read the rules.

I also thought that it might be 'golden lights', since it is supposed to be fragrant, but I think that this one is far too tall to be that.

If it is R. calendulaceum, it is supposed to be easy to grow from seed. Can I collect the seeds and do that or is it veyr difficult? I have never collected seeds in my life, so this is not obvious to me. If I do manage to grow one from this particular plant, will it be more likely to have this plants characteristics? It is a beautiful 'tree', but the flowers are so short lived that I don't know that I really could fully appreciate it without the fragrance as well. That is just so much of its charm. I am going to track its progress to see just how long they last.

The link is not a great photo of the tree, but you can see how graceful its branches are and how tall it is. I am very taken by tree as you can tell.

Thanks to everyone for your help.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 8:59AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The reason I asked where you are, angelajgood, is that r. austrinum, a Deep South native azalea also called the Florida azalea, might not grow and/or bloom in the north. Like many northern or mountain plants, r. calendulaceum probably can't take the heat of the Deep South, or I'm sure I'd see it growing around here. So the fact that your plant is blooming where you are gives us an indication of what it is.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 10:31AM
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Sorry, I should have said where I am. I am in Memphis, TN. I do envy you being in the 'deep south'. We spend alot of time in New Orleans and I love what will grow there. I know...we always want what we can't have. I just love the more tropical plants . Even driving 3 hours south of here to Jackson, MS makes a difference in what you can grow. Although, even though I am a novice and have been gardening minimally for a short period of time, I find that some things will survive better than they are supposed to. I buy some things as an annual and if they live its a bonus.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 6:54PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I looked it up, and r. calendulaceum has no fragrance, also, the shape of the bloom isn't the same as yours. So I'm sure what you've got is r. austrinum, which can grow quite a bit north of Florida - r. austrinum smells wonderful, and it can grow real tall, like r. canescens.
I don't blame you for valuing it - they're great plants!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 7:35PM
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dirtgirl07(GA 8)

You might talk to your local national parks. Here in Atlanta, the Chattahoochee National Park service holds a yearly sale on the "wild" azaleas and other plants from our area. This looks like one of them.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:59PM
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Sorry, I thought that I responded to this already, but apparently not. You are absolutely right, it is r. austrinum. I went to The Dixon gardens this weekend where they have a large number of azaleas on the grounds and saw a really nice one growing back in the woodland area.

I have found a local source for native azalea and am planning to get that one and some others in the fall for the shadier side of my yard. That gives me time this summer to plot and plan for fall planting. I may even need to thin the branches above where they are going to go for a bit less shade, but maybe not since the bottom branches are quite high up anyway.

Thanks to everyone who responded.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 8:51AM
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