Azalea

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Azalea
Rhododendron 'Hinodegiri'
Rhododendron 'Hinodegiri'
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron
Subgenus: Pentanthera
 and
Tsutsusi
Species

see text


Source: The Rhododendron page, and some research.

Azaleas are flowering shrubs making up part of the genus Rhododendron. Originally azaleas were classed as a different genus of plant, but now they are recognised as two of the eight sub-genera of rhododendrons - subgenus Pentanthera (deciduous), and subgenus Titsushi (evergreen).

Differences

One of the major differences between azaleas and the rest of the rhododendron family is their size. Another is their flower growth. Rhododendrons grow their flowers in stripers, while most azaleas have terminal blooms (one flower per flower stem). However, they have so many stems that during the flowering season they are a solid mass of colour. Azaleas are recognised by these flowers blooming all at once, in a showy display for a month or two in spring. The exception to this rule is a small group of azaleas which grow their flowers in tight terminal clusters.

File:Whiteazalea.jpg
An azalea flower close up

The Satsuki azalea group, derived from Rhododendron indicum and related species, are very popular.

A traditional alcoholic beverage made from azalea blossoms, called dugyeonju (두견주, literally "azalea wine"), is produced in Korea [8].

Cultivation

Plant enthusiasts have created azaleas for hundreds of years. This human genetic modification has produced over 10,000 different cultivars which are propagated by cuttings. Azalea seeds can also be collected and germinated.

File:Azalea1.jpg
Azaleas in bloom

Azaleas grow best in well-drained soil or in plant pots in a cool, shady position. Fertilizer is optional, although some species do need regular pruning.

Several commercial nurseries in Semmes, Alabama, a suburb of Mobile, are major national suppliers of azaleas in the U.S.

Azalea Festivals

File:Azaleas JH.jpg
Fifty year old Azalea

Many cities in the United States have festivals in the spring celebrating the blooms of the azalea, including Wilmington, North Carolina[1], Norfolk, Virginia[2], Valdosta, Georgia[3] Palatka, Florida[4] Pickens, South Carolina[5] Muskogee, Oklahoma[6] South Gate, California[7] and Mobile, Alabama.

File:Redazalea.jpg
A close up of a red azalea flower

Japan

Motoyama, Kochi also has a flower festival in which the blooming of Tsutsushi is celebrated.


See also

List of azalea diseases

References

da:Azalea de:Azalee el:Αζαλέα eo:Azaleo sk:Azalky sv:Azalea


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