Rhododendron Japonicum • Japanese Azalea

Rhododendron •  Rhododendron / Azalea •  シャクナゲ / ツツジ  • 石楠花 / 躑躅  • shakunage / tsutsuji

Oh, boy, the rhododendron species are not a settled matter, some people call the same bush by different names, there are different classifications and also the rhodies were and are cross-breaded enough to make one’s  head spin. Rhododendron Japonicum is a further level of confusion, as under that one name several plants of different colors are classified. One thing I noticed about them is that they are quite showy for Japanese azaleas:  the biggest  and boldest rhodies in our Garden are usually European hybrids, the smallest ones often are Japanese specimens of very dainty flowers and modest to low sizes like rhododendron ‘Ro Getsu’, and the one in the middle (by size and brightness of color)  are classified as Japanese Azaleas.

We have quite a few Japanese Azaleas in SJG, planted in different areas, mostly in the north of the Garden: above the rock wall,  along the northern path and on the hill where Kobe lantern is located (Areas O, P, Q and S).

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SJG • 5/15/12 – Rhododendron Japonicum • Japanese Azalea; a clump of them, of different colors (corolla peach, orange and yellow) live above the rock wall, Area P

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SJG • 5/15/12 – Rhododendron Japonicum • Japanese Azalea; flower in area P

This is what the Backyard Gardener says about Rhododendron japonicum: Though considerable confusion surrounds this species because its former names (which include R. molle, R. molle subsp. japonicum and A. sinensis), R. japonicum refers to a specific deciduous azalea native to the islands of Japan. It is a vigorous, upright shrub of medium height, with oblanceolate leaves 2 to 4 inches long that turn reddish in fall. Flowers are borne in clusters of 6 to 12 widely funnel-shaped blooms in shades of orange, yellow and red, occasionally with a pinkish tinge. R. japonicum can tolerate full sun and is quite hardy. […]

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SJG • 5/15/12 – Rhododendron Japonicum • Japanese Azalea; corolla yellow, Area S: along the top northern path. The carmine-pink low bush to at the bottom of the pic is rhododendron ‘Arnoldiana’, azalea

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SJG • 5/15/12 – Rhododendron Japonicum • Japanese Azalea; corolla yellow, Area S, flower

In the pic of top northern path above you can see a blob of orange color in the back of the picture – it is Rhododendron Japonicum in Area O, on the hill to the left of the Kobe lantern; a pic of them here:

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SJG • 5/15/12 – Rhododendron Japonicum, Japanese Azalea, corolla peachy orange, Area O.

Not far from here, in Federal Way, there is a Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden – their website is quite informative, although not as detailed as I would like it to be – perhaps a trip there is in order.

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