Western Azalea in Connecticut - Variety identification

wysecj(6)May 29, 2008


I moved last fall to a house with a heavily planted yard. I'm in the process of trying to identify the plants on the property. There was an unusual 'tree' about 10 feet high with large white flowers with a yellow blotch. From the trees forum, I found out that this is no tree, it's an azalea. It's most likely a Western Azalea, but I'd like to try to identify the variety if possible. I've included some pictures, and could provide more detailed information if needed. Anyone want to try to help me further identify this plant?

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by comparing images from the site linked below, yours looks similar to r. occidentale or a form of that one and it closely resembles the photo shown of a plant found in california. there are naturally occuring variations of flower color with shades of pink and orange.
they mention that this one resents the heat and humidity of the southeast u.s. but your climate might be better tolerated.
are the flowers fragrant? compare its characteristics to the species detailed at this website.
some of the people with more experience who post here may be able to identify it for you.
any chance it could be an r. eastmanii, rhodyman, bboy, etc.?

Here is a link that might be useful: native azaleas

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 10:38AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

It looks like R. occidentale, but since very few if any people in the East can grow this azalea that is native to the Oregon coast, I doubt that is what it is.

There are some R. occidentale hybrids that do well in the East. They include:

'Delicatissimum - (Koster) pale yellowish white, flushed with pink, yellow blotch, fragrant. RHS Award of Garden Merit 1993.

ÂMagnificum - (Koster, 1910) creamy white, flushed pink, orange flare, rose flushed bud, fragrant.

ÂSummer Fragrance - (R. occidentale à R. luteum, Pratt, 1963) pale yellow with vivid yellow blotch, fragrant, blooms early summer, compact shrub, good fall color. RHS Award of Garden Merit 1993.

Also consider the Aromi hybrid "High Tide"

"Northern Hi-Lites"

R. alabamese "Frosty"

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:46PM
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Here's some more information and pictures. I still can't tell what it is. I thought it was an occidentale, but I can't be sure, since I don't have any good leaf pictures.

Info: Deciduous, thin leaves (not leathery), shiny leaves, short hairs on midrib and edges. Bottom of leave is soft, probably has very tiny hairs all over bottom. There are 5 stamens. The flower gets a slight pink cast on the petals to the left and right of the top one. There are 5 petals. The leaves are in a whorl of 7. They vary from about 1 1/2" to 4" in length. The bush is currently about 12 feet high, and sparsely branched. The flowers are not very fragrant.

As always, any help would be welcomed.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:05PM
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Hi, My daughter has the exact same flowering bush here in MIchigan. I had been investigating the kind it is and found out from posting an inquiry on HGTV message boards. At least I now know that it is a member of the Azalea/Rhodo family, but that's all I know. Have a great day!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 1:53PM
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I have three different species of Rh. occidentale in my yard. I've just checked to see if any of them matches with your descriptions and pictures. I am thinking that it may not be occidentale.

All of mine has leaves with a whorl of 13 - 15 in layered fashion (similar to double-flower). And they are very fragrant (spicy).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 12:03AM
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Thanks for the info. I was leaning toward occidentale - it's very hard to tell from the information I get on the internet. Apparently, it's not - not enough leaves in the whorl, and only mildly fragrant. I'd probably do better with an azalea book.

Also, I finally found some time to do some pruning, and I noticed something unusual. The plant has two distinct leaf types. Where the flowers were, there are the typical whorls of leaves. However, the new growth has leaves that aren't in a whorl, and the look different. The leaves on the new growth are spaced an inch or two apart, circling the branch from the base to the tip (not in a whorl). The biggest of these new branches is about 2 feet long. When I get a chance, I'll take a picture of it, and provide a more detailed and accurate description (this one was from memory).

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 8:05AM
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The plant was described by explorers in western North America in the nineteenth century. At one time, the various geographic races were each classified as separate species. Seed was sent to Veitch Nursery in England in 1850 by William Lobb.

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    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 11:06PM
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If it doesn't stink like a skunk then it probably isn't an occidentale (coming from one who lives in occidentale native area.)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 10:16AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

If it is R. occidentale, you have made history since no one has ever been able to grow occidentale in Connecticut.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 12:02PM
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