Rhododendron luteumThursday, May 18, 2006
Rhododendron luteum was first described by Linneus in 1753 as Azalea lutea because of its yellow flowers. Recently azaleas, formerly thought to be first cousins of rhododendrons, have entered as full fledged rhododendrons and are no longer called azaleas. This scan of the flowers of the Rhododendron luteum from my garden show some spent flowers. I am showing them for a reason. The large tree-like bush (large because I calculate that my specimen must be 40 years old) begins to bloom around May 6 but by May 16 many of the flowers begin to wither. It is at this stage when the unusually sweet scent of luteum becomes even more so. The combination of a hot evening and the overipeness of the flowers is one of the spring pleasures of my garden.