Norfolk Botanical Garden has approximately accessioned 3,826 plants in the genus Rhododendron representing 558 different species and cultivars. This is the largest collection the Garden holds. Rhododendrons can be found throughout the Garden. Large concentrations of these plants can be found in the Rhododendron Glade, Mirror Lake and the Enchanted Forest. Many of these are commonly called azaleas. Some older plantings of rhododendrons/azaleas around Mirror Lake and Enchanted forest are not accessioned into the collection, so more than 50,000 plants of this genus may be in the Garden.
What is the difference between a Rhododendron and an Azalea?
The Rhododendron genus is large and complex with over 900 species. Azaleas are part of the genus Rhododendron but they are different enough from other species within the genus to divided into a sub-grouping. So how do you tell an azalea apart from other rhododendrons?
- Azaleas have 5 stamens while other rhododendrons have 10 (mostly).
- Azaleas can be deciduous or evergreen while other rhododendrons are evergreen.
- Azalea flowers are usually funnel shaped while rhododendron flowers have a more bell-shaped appearance.