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Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pink azalea)
Smith, R.W.

Rhododendron periclymenoides

Rhododendron periclymenoides (Michx.) Shinners

Pink Azalea, Pinxterbloom Azalea, Pinxterflower

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Azalea nudiflora, Rhododendron nudiflorum, Rhododendron nudiflorum var. glandiferum, Rhododendron periclymenoides var. eglandulosum

USDA Symbol: rhpe4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Pink azalea is a 6-15 ft. shrub, (usually closer to 6 ft.) with picturesque, horizontal branching above. Funnel-shaped, pink or white flowers with protruding stamens occur in large clusters, appearing before or with the leaves. Smooth, medium-green, deciduous foliage turns dull yellow in fall. A deciduous shrub, with terminal clusters of pink, tubular, vase-shaped, slightly fragrant flowers.

This much-branched shrub is especially showy in flower. It is relatively tolerant of dry sites and can be transplanted into wild shrub gardens. The species name, Latin for "naked-flowered," refers to the fact that the flowers often appear before its leaves are fully expanded. Mountain Azalea (R. canescens) and Woolly Azalea (R. prinophyllum) are also found within the range of this species.


From the Image Gallery

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , CT , DC , DE , GA , IL , KY , MA , MD , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WV
Native Distribution: NH to OH & KY, s. to GA & TN
Native Habitat: Moist to dry woods; bogs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Various well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: At least half a day of sunshine seems to keep pinxter from getting leggy. The slow-growing species is frequently troubled by leaf scorch, chlorosis from high pH, dieback, and disease and insect problems.


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
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: 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 Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rhododendron periclymenoides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhododendron periclymenoides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhododendron periclymenoides


Record Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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