Rhododendron canescens, the piedmont or Florida Pinxter
Azalea, is a striking native species. The fragrant flowers are 1 to 1.5
inches across, and come in
shades of pink to white with usually no blotch. The stamens are quite
long , usually twice as long as the tube.
Discovered by Mark Catesby about 1730, R. canescens is
often confused with R. periclymenoides (R. nudiflorum )
but can be distinguished by the sticky glandular hairs on the tubes of
the flowers and some other morphological characterics.
Although typically considered a southern species, R. canescens
is a hardy shrub that deserves wider landscape use. The 4 to 5 foot plant
makes a spectacular spring show since the flowers open before the
leaves have expanded.