Rhododendron canadense is a very unusual native azalea species
and was originally considered an entirely
separate genus, Rhodora. The top three petals of the flower are fused
together almost to the end to form a single lobe, whereas the bottom two are
completely separate lips. The purplish pink blossoms are approximately
1.5 inches across and have 10 stamens, twice the number of most east coast
natives. There are white forms of this species.
First described by Linnaeus in 1762, R. canadenseis a low stoloniferous shrub
that grows along stream banks and in swamps in eastern North America from
Pennsylvania into Labrador. The most northern of the east coast native azaleas,
the species is very cold hardy but a difficult plant where summers are hot and dry.