Monday, March 31, 2008

Wild Azalea

Wild Azalea (Rhododendron canescens), sometimes called Swamp Azalea by locals, is a native azalea found primarily on the moist, wooded slopes along the edges of wet areas such as swamps, streams, bogs, etc. This plant can be found from Maryland/Delaware south to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma. In South Carolina, it is found throughout the coastal plain and into the southwest piedmont.

The fragrant flowers appear before the leaves and are not as robust as the non-native Asian varieties found throughout Lowcountry gardens. All parts of the Wild Azalea are poisonous if ingested. Insects appear to be the main pollinator, though Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) likey dip into the long flowers as they arrive back from migration.

Images by Mark Musselman

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