This is part of an outline of a ten minute talk I gave to the Centerport Garden Club on November 9, 2010
HOW ARE RHODODENDRONS CLASSIFIED?
Rhododendrons are classified into two major groups, lepidote and elepidote?
- Elepidotes are large leaved rhododendrons. They are the type of shrub that most individuals would associate as being a rhododendron. They do not have scales located on the underside of the leaves. Plants tend to be very large in their maturity.
- Lepidote rhododendrons have smaller leaves and are usually low growing or dwarfs. They usually bloom earlier in the spring than the larger leaved elepidotes.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AZALEAS AND RHODODENDRONS?
- All azaleas are rhododendrons but not all rhododendrons are azaleas.
- True rhododendrons have 10 or more stamens which is 2 per lobe. Azaleas usually have 5 stamens or 1 per lobe. Azaleas have 5 lobes in a flower
- Azaleas tend to have appressed hairs which are hair parallel to the surface of the leaf. This is particularly true along the midrib on the underside of the leaf. It is easily seen in “evergreen” azaleas.
- True rhododendrons instead of hair are often scaly or have small dots on the under side of the leaf.
- Azalea leaves are never dotted with scales and are frequently pubescent.
- Many azaleas are deciduous.
- True rhodi’s are usually evergreen with the exceptions of R. mucronulatum and R. dauricum.
- Azaleas have tubular funnel or funnel shaped flowers. Rhodi flowers tend to be bell-shaped.