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Azaleas at The New York Botanical Garden  

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The LuEsther T. Mertz Library 
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458


Noteworthy Books on Azaleas and Rhododendrons

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American Azaleas - L. Clarence Towe
Call Number: QL 261 .R5 T68 2004
ISBN: 0881926450
Publication Date: 2004-08-15

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Rhododendrons & azaleas : a colour guide - Kenneth Cox
Call Number: QL 261 .R5 C644 2005
ISBN: 1861267843
Publication Date: 2005-11-01

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Rhododendrons and Azaleas - Geoff Bryant
Call Number: QL 261 .R5 B79 2001
ISBN: 1552095657
Publication Date: 2001-03-03

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Success with Rhododendrons and Azaleas - H. Edward Reilly
Call Number: QL 261 .R5m R42 1992
ISBN: 0881923311
Publication Date: 2003-01-01

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The Layered Garden - David L. Culp; Adam Levine; Rob Cardillo (Photographer)
Call Number: SB473 .C845 2012
ISBN: 1604692367
Publication Date: 2012-10-16

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The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs - Jim Gardiner
Call Number: SB435 .G378 2011
ISBN: 0881928232
Publication Date: 2012-03-06


Azaleas at The New York Botanical Garden


Getting to Know Azaleas

The genus Rhododendron, which includes all azaleas and rhododendrons, comprises more than 1,000 species worldwide. The majority of all 70 species of azaleas are indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere, with a range from North America to Europe and Asia. Deciduous azaleas, which lose their leaves in winter, are native to eastern Asia, Europe and North America, while evergreen azaleas are found only in Asia. Asian azaleas are generally not as hardy and are often crossed with hardier European or North American species.
Deciduous azaleas tend to have an open, loosely branched habit. Evergreen azaleas have either an upright or sprawling habit and tend to be more densely branched than deciduous azaleas. Evergreen azaleas often have wide showy flowers that are disproportionately large compared with the foliage while deciduous azaleas have long tubular flowers that are in proportion to the foliage. The flowers on deciduous azaleas shrivel up and shed quickly while evergreen azaleas tend to hold on to their flowers after they turn brown and can look a little messy.  
Evergreen azaleas are dimorphic, meaning they have two kinds of leaves. One set of leaves appears in spring around flowering time. They last for the season and then yellow and fall off in autumn. Another set of leaves is formed in early summer. These leaves last for 1 – 3 years and are thicker and smaller, and leathery. 
The typical azalea flower has five petals that are fused at the base and flare out at the tip to create either a star- or butterfly-like appearance. Usually the flower has 5 to 10 stamens (the male reproductive part) that are often showy. Deciduous azaleas have long tubular flowers and evergreen azaleas have shorter tubes and a wider appearance.
Sometimes the single flower of an azalea can be modified when either the stamens (the male reproductive structure) or the sepals (modified leaves that protect the flower buds) are transformed to look like petals. Hose-in-hose is a term used when the sepals are ornamental and look like petals. The result is the azalea taking on the appearance of a flower within a flower. Double describes a flower in which the stamens have changed into a petal-like structure. It looks like the inside of the flower is filled with petals. Semi-double refers to a flower in which the stamens are only partially changed.
Azaleas at The New York Botanical Garden
The late spring crescendo of white, coral, pink and purple blossoms in the Azalea Garden is one of the New York Botanical Garden’s most striking seasonal spectacles. By selecting from the tabs above, you can learn more about some of the species and cultivars of Azalea you will find at the NYBG.

NYBG Garden Navigator

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  • NYBG Garden Navigator
    Use this resource to explore the NYBG grounds, including information about specific plants, bloom times, and garden features.
  • NYBG Garden Guides
    Guides from the Plant Information Office related to specific NYBG gardens, including their history, design, and current plantings.

Azalea and Rhododendron Socities

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