(Small) Millais, Rhododendrons. 229. 1917.
Roseshell or early azalea, election-pink
Small in N. L. Britton et al., N. Amer. Fl. 29: 42. 1914
, to 3(-5) m, usually not rhizomatous.
bark smooth to vertically furrowed, shredding; twigs scattered, multicellular eglandular-hairy (hairs unbranched), other-wise densely to sparsely unicellular-hairy.
deciduous; petiole usually multicellular eglandular-hairy and unicellular-hairy; blade ovate to obovate, 3-9 × 1.2-3.7 cm, thin, membranous, margins entire, plane, conspicuously ciliate, eglandular-hairy (hairs ascending away from margins), apex acute to obtuse, often mucronate, abaxial surface sparsely to densely unicellular-hairy, sometimes also eglandular-hairy, adaxial surface usually sparsely unicellular-hairy, sometimes glabrous, often also scattered eglandular-hairy.
Floral bud scales
very sparsely to densely unicellular-hairy abaxially, especially near midvein, margins unicellular-ciliate.
4-13-flowered; bracts similar to bud scales.
5-26 mm, usually stipitate-glandular-hairy, or, sometimes, also eglandular-hairy, otherwise sparsely to moderately unicellular-hairy.
opening before or with leaves, erect to horizontal, fragrant (spicy-scented); calyx lobes 0.5-4 mm, surfaces and margins scattered stipitate-glandular- and/or eglandular-hairy, otherwise sparsely to densely unicellular-hairy; corolla usually bright pink, without blotch on upper lobe, funnelform, 25-45 mm, scattered, multicellular stipitate-glandular-hairy (hairs not form-ing distinct lines), otherwise sparsely to moderately unicellular-hairy on outer surface, petals connate, lobes 10-23 mm, tube gradually expanded into lobes, 11-27 mm (equaling or longer than lobes); stamens 5, much exserted, ± unequal, 32-53 mm.
borne on erect pedicel, 10-28 × 3-7 mm, stipitate-glandular-hairy, otherwise sparsely unicellular-hairy.
without distinct tails, flattened portion of testa well developed at each end; testa expanded, dorsiventrally flattened, ± loose.
Flowering spring. Acidic thickets or bogs, swampy to dry, rocky woods, bluffs, ravines, or along streams; 100-1500 m; Ala., Ark., Conn., Ill., Ky., Md., Mass., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va.
is unusual in its strongly disjunct distribution. Plants in the western portion of the range often have longer corolla tubes and are most similar to
, and can be distinguished from both by their broader, more gradually expanded corolla tubes and usually consistently glandular sepal margins, pedicels, and ovaries. Hybrids are known with
. The name
(Loiseleur) Rehder, which has been used for this species, is illegitimate because it was superfluous when published (K. A. Kron 1989).