Rhododendron nipponicum

Subgenus Pentanthera Section Viscidula

Species deciduous azalea

Synonym: Azalea nipponica

Epithet: From Japan


A shrub growing 1-2m in height

Flowers: Trusses of 6-15 tubular-campanulate flowers open from terminal buds with or after the leaves. Flowers are 15-24mm long × 8-10mm wide; white, white and greenish; lobes can be flushed pink, no spotting


Not scented

Foliage: Obovate to oblong-obovate, broad; leaves alternate along the stem; upper surface bright green, bristly with densely bristly margins; underside adpressed- bristly. Leaves are 40-180mm long × 15-90mm wide; very good autumn leaf colour. Deciduous

Distribution: 900-1300m on hillsides and deciduous woodland in northern Honshu, Japan

Other Information: This species is quite unique. Some think of it as the most primitive species deciduous azalea. First discovered in 1899 and introduced to the UK in 1914. The new leaf growth from the axillary buds which are below the terminal bud may obscure the trusses of flowers; the only species deciduous azalea with such attractive, peeling shiny brown bark; one of the best species deciduous azaleas for autumn leaf colour. Limited commercial availability

Location: Llyshendy, South Wales

Photo: Ivor Stokes

Location: Llyshendy, South Wales

Photo: Ivor Stokes