Azalea identification

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by jloftus, May 18, 2021.

  1. jloftus

    jloftus Member

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    We had the most wonderful azalea that has sadly died. I would love to replace it….does anyone know what it might be?
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good evening, it looks like Rhododendron luteum (A) to me. Did it have wonderful scent? As luteum does.
    Edit 1. Here is a photo of mine a few days ago.
    Azalea luteum 220.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  3. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Another very fragrant azalea is Western Azalea, commonly grown on the west coast. Rhododendron occidentale is native to southwestern Oregon through California. Many homeowners in this area grow it and its hybrids in various colours of white, pink, yellow and orange.

    This photo was taken by Michael Oliver, JARS v61n1 - Rhododendron occidentale and its Habitats

    The western azalea is used extensively in breeding programs as a parent plant for many highly sought after hybrids, especially for adding fragrance. Some of its offspring include 'Delicatissimum', 'Exquisitum' and 'Irene Koster'. All won the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993. Although its hybrids easily grow outside our region, R. occidentale is not easy to grow outside the maritime Pacific Northwest and California, especially in areas where the weather is hot and humid.
    Rhododendron occidentale - WESTERN AZALEA
     

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  4. jloftus

    jloftus Member

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    Yes it was very fragrant and a lighter yellow. So I think it was the Western. Thank you so much for your help.
     
  5. jloftus

    jloftus Member

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    There is a small shoot that is still alive and this is the picture. It is a lighter yellow than yours but it looks similar and the leaves look the same. What do you think? The scent was really quite unusual.
    FBC55C33-B87D-4138-A07E-B66B94C19B97.jpeg
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Mine looks like this as they start to go over, but are brighter yellow at the beginning of flowering. The leaves in your photo are definitely the same. The scent on luteum is really quite musky.
     
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Something to keep in mind is that R. luteum flowers are all relatively the same colour but R. occidentale are very variable. There are plenty of hybrids of both however, just to complicate things. To my eye, @jloftus ' plant looks more like R. occidentale based on the colour of the flower and the shiny leaves.

    A few differences I’ve been able to identify between Rhododendron occidentale and Rhododendron luteum are:
    • R. occidentale is generally taller.
    • R. occidentale leaves are glossy green on top while R. luteum leaves are a bit longer and sparsely covered on both sides with stiff, flat hairs.
    • R. occidentale generally has about 6 – 12 flowers per cluster (can be as many as 50+) while R. luteum has about 12.
    • The fragrance of R. occidentale is described as 'sweet/spicy' while that of R. luteum is ‘musky’.
     
  8. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi @Acerholic - are the leaves of your R. luteum really that shiny? I can't tell from your photo.
     
  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    More of a matt finish Margot. So no not shiny .
     

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