Rhododendron viscosum


Rhododendron viscosum now includes two closely related forms that were perviously considered separate species, R. serrulatum and R. oblongifolium. The fragrant flowers are generally white to pale pink, and bloom after the leaves have fully expanded. Flowers vary in size from 0.75 to 1.5 inches across depending upon the form, but have a long narrow tupe covered with sticky glandular hairs. The species has a wide distribution from Maine to Florda, and westward to Texas.

R. viscosum was the first North American azalea grown in England. Bishop Henry Compton raised the plant in 1680 from seed collected by John Bannister, an English Missionary. The species was an important parent in early hybridzing efforts with deciduous azaleas. It can be distinguished from the other late blooming white, R. arborescens in that the stamens are greenish white rather than red, and the stems are not smooth but contain hairs.

Distribution Map

Plants in the Wild


Matthews Co., VA

Isle of Wright Co., VA

Gloucester Co., VA

Isle of Wright Co., VA

Variations in Flower Form


Gloucester Co., VA

Swain Co., NC
(Parson's Bald)

Harris Co., GA
(former R. serrulatum)

Private Garden
(former R. oblongifolium)
The images presented here are reproduced with permission from color slides taken by the Species Study Group of the Middle Atlantic Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. The slides are numbered, and correspond to the sequence used in the program Eastern Native Azalea Species presented by George K. McLellan at the East Coast Regional Conference of the ARS in November 1999.


East Coast Native Azaleas
R. vaseyi
R. canadense
R. canescens
R. austrinum
R. flammeum
R. periclymenoides
R. alabamense
R. atlanticum
R. calendulaceum
R. prinophyllum
R. viscosum
R. arborescens
R. cumberlandense
R. prunifolium
R. eastmanii

Identifying the Native Azaleas