Rhododendron arborescens, the Sweet Azalea,
has white to blush pink flowers with red stamens, and a very strong
fragrance similar to heliotrope. It blooms in late spring to early summer
and individual flowers measure 1.5 to 2 inches across.
First described by John Bartram in 1814, this species has a wide distribution
in the eastern United States, but can usually be found growing near streams
or moist areas. It is sometimes known as the "Smooth Azalea" because the
stems are very smooth and do not have hairs similar to the other azaleas.
An excellent landscape plant, R. arborescens
can perfume a wide area when in bloom. Relatively easy to propagate,
there are a number of excellent forms in the trade.