Orange-flowered Wild Azalea
(Florida Azalea - Orange Azalea - Florida Flame Azalea)
Rhododendron austrinum
Ericaceae (Heath) Family

Plant is an upright shrub. Preferred habitat is edge of woodland streams. Distribution is occasional in the Escambia region.

Leaves are alternate, one whole part, short leaf stalks, widest at the center, or oval-shaped. No teeth and no lobes.

Flowers are a terminal cluster; bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form. The calyx is five lobed; corolla is nearly funnel shaped; yellow to yellowish-orange, often reddish tinted. There will be five to ten stamens that extend beyond the corolla. Flowers occur in early spring before the new leaves emerge.

Fruit is a capsule.

Finding this azalea in the open woods and swamps is a happening that must occur during a brief bloom cycle, at which time it is best identified. The flowering period extends over a two to three week period during March and April. It is extremely unlikely that this wild azalea will be seen at roadside because collectors harvested this widely sought after shrub long before laws were put in place to forbid the taking of roadside plants.

The Latin 'austrinum' describes the shrub as “toward the south.”

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