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N. Walker

Rhododendron catawbiense is a native plant to Southeastern U. S. It is mostly found in the Appalachian ranges in Georgia and North Carolina. It is an evergreen shrub that grows to about 6 feet high. It can form dense thickets. The Appalachian Trail goes through certain areas referred to as Rhododendron Tunnels. The glossy leaves are about 7 inches long. The large inflorescence is spectacular with dozen or more purple flowers on each branch. Flowering occurs in Northeast Alabama in late May. Rhododendron is in the same family as Wild Azaleas, Mountain Laurel, and Blueberries.