Winter Shrub ID: Clammy Azalea

Clammy Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum) is hard to miss when it's blooming.  Its large white blossoms resemble those of related Rhododendrons, in shape if not color.

Photo of Clammy Azalea buds

This time of year, blossoms are patiently waiting inside large, boldly patterned terminal buds.  Near these large buds, notice the smaller vegetative buds.

Photo of Clammy Azalea fruits

The fragrant sticky-blossoms of Clammy Azalea give way to fuzzy, five-parted narrow capsules.  A long style typically remains, making the fruit look as if it is sticking out its tongue.

Photo of Clammy Azalea branching

Aside from distinctive winter buds and persisting fruit, also look for this shrub's branching pattern.  Though not originating from a single point along a stem, branches are often clustered and appear pseudo-whorled.

Clammy Azalea has a preference for wet areas, and can be found locally along the shores of Lake Mirimichi and at the Plainville Cemetery.

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