Did you know that all azaleas are rhododendrons but not all rhododendrons are azaleas?
(Ok some of you with green thumbs probably did but being rather unknowledgeable about plants I didn't).
Both 'azalea' and 'rhododendron' come up as translations of the Japanese tsutsuji. Thank goodness for the internet!
What is the difference between Rhododendrons and Azaleas?**
* Rhododendrons have ten or more stamens, while Azaleas have five.
* Rhododendrons have large, paddle-shaped leaves and large, bell- or funnel-shaped flowers borne in terminal trusses. Azaleas have small, elliptical leaves and trumpet- or tubular-shaped flowers at the ends of the shoots.
* Rhododendrons are erect, growing up to 80 feet high, while Azaleas are more twiggy, spreading bushes, usually reaching a height of no more than 8 feet.
* Both Rhododendrons and Azaleas provide fragrant blossoms in an array of colors - from pure white and light pastels to brilliant orange and gold to purple and red. Some blossoms change color over time or are marked with contrasting colors.
Other interesting facts about rhododendrons:**
* There are around 1000 species/varieties of Rhododendrons.
* Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal, and the state flower of Sikkim in India.
* All the parts of Rhododendrons are dangerous, especially leaves, showing symptoms of Stomach irritation, abdominal pain, abnormal heart rate and rhythm, convulsions, coma, death. Honey made from the nectar of Rhododendron flowers is also toxic and should not be consumed.
**Taken from The Flower Expert. Click on the link for more information.
Pictures taken at the Koishikawa Botanical Garden on April 21, 2007.