Rhododendron canadense


Rhododendron canadense is a very unusual native azalea species and was originally considered an entirely separate genus, Rhodora. The top three petals of the flower are fused together almost to the end to form a single lobe, whereas the bottom two are completely separate lips. The purplish pink blossoms are approximately 1.5 inches across and have 10 stamens, twice the number of most east coast natives. There are white forms of this species.

First described by Linnaeus in 1762, R. canadenseis a low stoloniferous shrub that grows along stream banks and in swamps in eastern North America from Pennsylvania into Labrador. The most northern of the east coast native azaleas, the species is very cold hardy but a difficult plant where summers are hot and dry.

Distribution Map

Plants in the Wild


Monroe Co., PA (Long Pond)

Monroe Co., PA (Long Pond)

Monroe Co., PA (Long Pond)

Variations in Flower Form


Monroe Co., PA (Long Pond)

Monroe Co., PA (Long Pond)

Monroe Co., PA (Long Pond)
The images presented here are reproduced with permission from color slides taken by the Species Study Group of the Middle Atlantic Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. The slides are numbered, and correspond to the sequence used in the program Eastern Native Azalea Species presented by George K. McLellan at the East Coast Regional Conference of the ARS in November 1999.


East Coast Native Azaleas
R. vaseyi
R. canadense
R. canescens
R. austrinum
R. flammeum
R. periclymenoides
R. alabamense
R. atlanticum
R. calendulaceum
R. prinophyllum
R. viscosum
R. arborescens
R. cumberlandense
R. prunifolium
R. eastmanii

Identifying the Native Azaleas