Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Rhododendron viscosum (L.) Torr.
ERICACEAE (Heath Family)
EtymologyRhododendron means red tree, from the Greek: rhodos = red, or rose + dendron=tree; viscosum, Latin for sticky, refers to the sticky flowers.
Synonyms (Common Name)Swamp Honeysuckle, Clammy Honeysuckle, Clammy Azalea
DescriptionSwamp azalea is a deciduous, ericaceous shrub that often forms large colonies and grows to 7' tall. It has multiple stems and many branches; the branch pattern is whorled. Swamp azalea has one of the most fragrant flowers of all wetland ericads, filling the air with a heavy, sweet perfume in early summer.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Heightto 7 feet
LeavesDeciduous, alternate, entire, 3/4 - 2 1/2" long; oblanceolate to obovate; dark, glossy-green above, paler below with hairs on the underside veins; maroon-brown in fall. Leaves become more crowded toward the tips of the twigs in whorl-like clusters of 4-6 leaves.
Flower/InflorescenceWhite (may be pale pink or streaked with pink), 2" long, funnel-shaped, tube longer than the 5 lobes; long, projecting style and filaments; tube is sticky-hairy; very fragrant. Flowers are borne in clusters of 4-9 at the end of the branches. Flower buds are larger than leaf buds, with one greatly enlarged bud at the tip of the twig.
Flowering PeriodJune-July, after the leaves appear
FruitCapsule, 1/2 - 3/4" long, oblong, 5-parted, bristly-hairy.
Fruiting PeriodSeptember-October; persisting throughout the winter.
HabitatWet woods, wooded and shrub swamps, marshes, pond and stream margins, occasionally bogs.
RangeSouthern Maine to Ohio, south to Florida.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett