FlowerPotNursery Dorothy Hayden Azalea Rhododendron sp. Dorothy Hayd. 1 Gallon

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Rhododendron (/ˌroʊdəˈdɛndrən/; from Ancient Greek ῥόδον rhódon "rose" and δένδρον déndron "tree") is a very large genus of about 1,024 species of woody plants in the heath family (Ericaceae). They can be either evergreen or deciduous. Most species are native to eastern Asia and the Himalayan region, but smaller numbers occur elsewhere in Asia, and in North America, Europe and Australia. It is the national flower of Nepal, the state flower of Washington and West Virginia in the United States, the state flower of Nagaland in India, the provincial flower of Jiangxi in China and the state tree of Sikkim and Uttarakhand in India. Most species have brightly colored flowers which bloom from late winter through to early summer.

Azaleas make up two subgenera of Rhododendron. They are distinguished from "true" rhododendrons by having only five anthers per flower.

Rhododendron is a genus of shrubs and small to (rarely) large trees, the smallest species growing to 10-100 cm (4-40 in) tall, and the largest, R. protistum var. giganteum, reported to 30 m (100 ft) tall.[9][10] The leaves are spirally arranged; leaf size can range from 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) to over 50 cm (20 in), exceptionally 100 cm (40 in) in R. sinogrande. They may be either evergreen or deciduous. In some species, the undersides of the leaves are covered with scales (lepidote) or hairs (indumentum). Some of the best known species are noted for their many clusters of large flowers. There are alpine species with small flowers and small leaves, and tropical species such as section Vireya that often grow as epiphytes. Species in this genus may be part of the heath complex in oak-heath forests in eastern North America.

They have frequently been divided based on the presence or absence of scales on the abaxial (lower) leaf surface (lepidote or elepidote). These scales, unique to subgenus Rhododendron, are modified hairs consisting of a polygonal scale attached by a stalk.

Rhododendron are characterised by having inflorescences with scarious (dry) perulae, a chromosome number of x=13, fruit that has a septicidal capsule, an ovary that is superior (or nearly so), stamens that have no appendages, and agglutinate (clumped) pollen.

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