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 native R. vaseyi...

The Vaseyi Chapter of the Azalea Society of America* was chartered in June 2001, and meets in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The chapter is named after Rhododendron vaseyi, one of the 16 species of deciduous azaleas native to the United States. R. vaseyi was discovered near Webster, North Carolina, and named by Dr. George Vasey in 1878.

One of the chapter goals is to record specific locations of R. vaseyi growing in the wild. While R. vaseyi is hardy in USDA Zones 5a-9a (-20°F to +20°F) and is grown in gardens from Florida to New England, it is documented as being native to only four counties in western North Carolina, at elevations of 3000 to 5500 feet. However, there is some evidence it may also be native to Rabun Bald in north Georgia.

Another goal is to collect and grow seed from exceptional specimens of R. vaseyi, to make these plants more widely available. In general, R. vaseyi is an upright shrub to 15 feet high, with flowers appearing before the leaves. The flowers have a shorter tube and appear to be more flat-faced than other deciduous species, with five petals and 5 to 7 stamens. While most plants have light pink flowers with a greenish throat and reddish orange dots at the base of the top petal, some have a base color ranging from pure white to deep purplish pink. These are all natural variations within the species, as R. vaseyi is not known to cross with other species.

Each of these galleries shows one of our trips. The photographer is named at the bottom right of each full size image, or is blank for Bob Stelloh's images.
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* E-mail John Brown to participate in future trips or for more information on the chapter.
  Visit the Azalea Society of America website at http://www.azaleas.org for general information about azaleas and the society.
herbarium sheet

herbarium sheet

   Blue Ridge Parkway: May 1, 2002
  Blue Ridge Parkway: May 1, 2002
Pilot Mountain: May 6, 2002
Pilot Mountain: May 6, 2002
Pilot Mountain: May 11, 2002
Pilot Mountain: May 11, 2002
Rabun Bald/Whiteside Mountain: May 15, 2002
Rabun Bald/Whiteside Mountain: May 15, 2002
Blue Ridge Parkway: May 19, 2002
Blue Ridge Parkway: May 19, 2002