The evergreen Rhododendron plants are finally awakening around here.
Their grenade-like buds are exploding all over the place and adding brilliant flashes amid the lush, early-summer greenery.
Although not natives, these Asian plants thrive here and are the subject of considerable study as climate change affects flora. However, we’re trying not to imagine the experiments that led to the discovery that the honey from the nectar of some Rhododendrons is simultaneously an hallucinogen and a laxative.
Maine’s only native member of the Rhododendron genus is the deciduous Rhodora bog azalea. (All azaleas are Rhododendrons.) Here's a Rhodora blossoming: