AZALEA garden
 Lulstraat 3, 9770 Kruishoutem


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Azalea indica

Azalea japonica

 Rhododendron vireya

 Deciduous azalea



From a different perspective







Rhododendrons are among the most popular garden plants because of their extensive range of hybrids, their full palette of colours and their very diverse wild species and shapes. It is not very well little known that the plants vary in size from dwarf rhododendrons of only a few cm in height to giant bushes that can be up to 30 metres high.

The name rhododendron comes from the Greek rhodo = rose and dendron = tree.

The first rhododendrons that appeared in our part of the world were Rhodendron ferrugineum and Rhodendron hirsitum. They already adorned monasteries and castle gardens in the Alps many hundreds of years ago. Hence the name “Alpenrose”, which is still sometimes used as a collective name for rhododendrons.

Hundreds of years ago, the Japanese were already busy breeding the genus rhododendron in order to brighten up their gardens. In our part of the world, most varieties were introduced in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, but even today new species are being discovered.


Botanically, the genus rhododendron, which is part of the family of ericaceae, is divided into 8 subgenera, 12 sections and more than 50 subsections, including the approximately 1,000 wild species.

Please note that this only relates to the species that are found in the wild! In addition, breeders across the world have produced many thousands of hybrid varieties, by attempting to combine the desired characteristics of two different varieties into a single new variety.


Below you will find the classification of the genus Rhododendron.

Published on the Internet in 1998 by Herbert A. Spady


Subgenus Azaleastrum

Section Azaleastrum

Section Choniastrum

Subgenus Candidastrum

Subgenus Hymenanthes

Section Ponticum

Subsection Arborea

Subsection Argyrophylla

Subsection Auriculata

Subsection Barbata

Subsection Campanulata

Subsection Campylocarpa

Subsection Falconera

Subsection Fortunea

Subsection Fulgensia

Subsection Fulva

Subsection Glischra

Subsection Grandia

Subsection Griersoniana

Subsection Irrorata

Subsection Lanata

Subsection Maculifera

Subsection Neriiflora

Subsection Parishia

Subsection Pontica

Subsection Selensia

Subsection Taliensia

Subsection Thomsonia

Subsection Venatora

Subsection Williamsiana

Subgenus Mumeazalea

Subgenus Pentanthera

Section Pentanthera

Section Rhodora

Section Sciadorhodion

Section Viscidula

Subgenus Rhododendron

Section Pogonanthum

Section Rhododendron

Subsection Afghanica

Subsection Baileya

Subsection Boothia

Subsection Camellfiflora

Subsection Campylogyna

Subsection Caroliniana

Subsection Cinnabarina

Subsection Edgeworthia

Subsection Fragariflora

Subsection Genestieriana

Subsection Glauca

Subsection Heliolepida

Subsection Lapponica

Subsection Ledum

Subsection Lepidota

Subsection Maddenia

Subsection Micrantha

Subsection Monantha

Subsection Moupinensia

Subsection Rhododendron

Subsection Rhodorastra

Subsection Saluenensia

Subsection Scabrifolia

Subsection Tephropepla

Subsection Trichoclada

Subsection Triflora

Subsection Uniflora

Subsection Virgata

Section Vireya

Subsection Albovireya

Subsection Malayovireya

Subsection Phaeovireya

Subsection Pseudovireya

Subsection Siphonovireya

Subsection Solenovireya

Subsection Vireya

Subgenus Therorhodion

Subgenus Tsutsusi

Section Brachycalyx

Section Tsutsusi

For more information on the genus Rhododendron, please refer to the book: "The Encyclopedia of Rhododendron Species" by Peter A. Cox & Kenneth N.E. Cox ISBN: 09530533 OX.