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.