(Rhodora Canadensis; Rhododendron Rhodora of Gray) Heath


Flowers - Purplish pink, rose, or nearly white, 1 1/2 in. broad

or less, in clusters on short, stiff, hairy pedicels, and usually

appearing before the leaves, from scaly, terminal buds. Calyx

minute; corolla 2-lipped, upper lip unequally 2-3 lobed; lower

lip 2-cleft; 10 stamens; pistil, the style slightly protruding.

Stem: 1 to 3 ft. high, shrubby, branching. Leaves: Deciduous,

oval to oblong, dark green above, pale and hairy beneath.

Preferred Habitat - Wet hillsides, damp woods, beside sluggish

streams, cool bogs.

Flowering Season - May.

Distribution - Newfoundland to Pennsylvania mountains.

A superficial glance at this low, little, thin shrub might

mistake it for a magenta variety of the leafless Pinxter-flower.

It does its best to console the New Englanders for the scarcity

of the magnificent rhododendron, with which it was formerly

classed. The Sage of Concord, who became so enamored of it that

Massachusetts people often speak of it as "Emerson's flower,"

extols its loveliness in a sonnet:

"Rhodora! If the sages ask thee why

This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,

Tell them, dear, if eyes were made for seeing,

Then Beauty is its own excuse for being."


(Rhododendron maximum) Heath family

Flowers - Rose pink, varying to white, greenish in the throat,

spotted with yellow or orange, in broad clusters set like a

bouquet among leaves, and developed from scaly, cone-like buds;

pedicels sticky-hairy. Calyx 5-parted, minute; corolla 5-lobed,

broadly bell-shaped, 2 in. broad or less usually 10 stamens,

equally spreading; pistil. Stem: Sometimes a tree attaining a

height of 40 ft., usually 6 to 20 ft., shrubby, woody. Leaves:

Evergreen, drooping in winter, leathery, dark green on both

sides, lance-oblong, 4 to 10 in. long, entire edged, narrowing

into stout petioles.

Preferred Habitat - Mountainous woodland, hillsides near streams.

Flowering Season - June-July.

Distribution - Uncommon from Ohio and New England to Nova Scotia;

abundant through the Alleghanies to Georgia.

When this most magnificent of our native shrubs covers whole

mountain sides throughout the Alleghany region with bloom, one

stands awed in the presence of such overwhelming beauty. Nowhere

else does the rhododendron attain such size or luxuriance. There

it produces a tall trunk, and towers among the trees; it spreads

its branches far and wide until they interlock and form almost

impenetrable thickets locally called "hells;" it glorifies the

loneliest mountain road with superb bouquets of its delicate

flowers set among dark, glossy foliage scarcely less attractive.

The mountain in bloom is worth travelling a thousand miles to


Farther south the more purplish-pink or lilac-flowered CAROLINA

RHODODENDRON (R. Catawbiense) flourishes. This southern shrub,

which is perfectly hardy, unlike its northern sister, has been

used by cultivators as a basis for producing the fine hybrids now

so extensively grown on lawns in this country and Europe. Crossed

with the Nepal species (R. arboreum) the best results follow.

Americans, ever too prone to make the eagle scream on their trips

abroad, need not monopolize all the glory for the cultivated

rhododendron, as they are apt to do when they see it on fine

estates in England. The Himalayas, which are covered with

rhododendrons of brighter hue than ours, furnish many of the

shrubs of commerce. Our rhododendron produces one of the hardest

and strongest of woods, weighing thirty-nine pounds per cubic


Rhododendrons, azaleas, and laurels fall under a common ban

pronounced by bee-keepers. The bees which transfer pollen from

blossom to blossom while gathering nectar, manufacture honey said

to be poisonous. Cattle know enough to let all this foliage

alone. Apparently the ants fear no more evil results from the

nectar than the bees themselves; and were it not for the sticky

parts nearest the flowers, on which they crawl to meet their

death, the blossom's true benefactors would find little

refreshment left.


RED CHOKEBERRY DOGBERRY TREE RIVERBUSH facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail