There are nearly 10,000 cultivars of this member of the rhododendron family, with 14 native varieties recognized in the East. Azaleas prefer well drained acid soils in cool shady areas. Most of the native azaleas found in Frederick County are located in the understory of oak forests. The azalea normally blooms in late April or early May and produces a drupelike fruit during late summer. Azaleas are found throughout the globe and are cherished by many cultures.

Native azalea, known as the rose or mountain azalea.

Credit: - Mike Kay

The Chinese name for azalea translates to “the royalty of gardens.” The Koreans produce a wine from the azalea blossom. In mythology, the azalea was the flower of Sagittarius.

Article by FCFCDB member

Nature Note for 5/25/2014