Rhododendron canescens Piedmont Azalea

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    Wild azalea is a showy shrub growing up to 8 feet tall. Leaves are alternate, deciduous, clustered, 1 1/2-4 inches long and 3/4-1 1/4 inches wide. They are firm and thick, with a dark green upper surface. The sticky, slightly fragrant flowers, which bloom before the leaves are mature, grow in whorl-like clusters. They are pink (rarely white), trumpet-shaped, about 1 inch long, flaring into 5 petal-like lobes. There are 5 stamens, 1-1 3/4 inches long, that extend well beyond the petals, and a pistil equal to or exceeding the stamens in length. The flowers exude a delicate fragrance and usually appear before the thin, velvety, elliptic leaves. This is the most common native azalea in the Southeast. It tends to form large colonies and hybridizes readily with other species in the genus.

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