Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Rhododendron canescens (Michx.) Sweet
Mountain azalea, Wild azalea, Honeysuckle azalea, Piedmont azalea, Sweet azalea, Hoary azalea, Southern pinxterflower
Synonym(s): Azalea candida, Azalea canescens, Azalea canescens var. subglabra, Rhododendron candidum, Rhododendron canescens var. candidum, Rhododendron canescens var. subglabrum
USDA Symbol: rhca7
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Breeding System:
Flowers Bisexual Size Notes:
Height to 8 feet tall. Leaf:
Dark green upper surface. Flower:
Flowers 1 inch long Fruit:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Rarely white.
, VA Native Distribution:
Coastal Plain & Piedmont from NC
& TX Native Habitat:
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) CaCO3 Tolerance:
None Soil Description:
Moist, well-drained soil. . Acid-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam Conditions Comments:
This is the most common native
azalea in the Southeast. Give this azalea plenty of room, as it tends to form large colonies. This species hybridizes readily with others in the genus.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Aromatic, Water garden, Bog or pond area
Warning: Rhododendrons contain poisonous substances and should not be ingested by humans or animals. Honey made from flowers also may be toxic. POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Highly Toxic, May be Fatal if eaten. Symptoms include salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, coma. Toxic Principle: Andromedotoxin. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Combine seeds loosely with sphagnum moss and sprinkle lightly over a 2:1 perlite/peat mixture. Germinate under mist or a plastic tent. Optimum temperatures for germination are 45-50 degrees. Transplant seedlings to acid soil with a high content of orga
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Warrensville, NC
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Picayune, MSMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2013-10-25
Research By: TWC Staff