Our nectar-starved bees are overjoyed: Azaleas are now appearing in profusion. The cold spring apparently delayed many Azalea blossoms.


There also is the question of what to call them now. Since the nosy horticultural genealogists reclassified Azaleas into the Rhododendron genus, there has been some confusion among those of us who are not experts.


 As we understand the situation, all Azaleas are now Rhododendrons, but not all Rhododendrons are Azaleas. Most Azaleas are deciduous; most non-Azalea (“true”) Rhodies are evergreen. Azaleas have funnel-shaped flowers; most true Rhody flowers are bell-shaped. Most Azaleas have 5 stamens per lobe; true Rhodies have 10 or more.


(Brooklin, Maine)