CPC Plant Profile: Plumleaf Azalea
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Plant Profile

Plumleaf Azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium)

Flowers can be recognized by bright orange petals that grow up to 2.5 cm long, with very long stamen that project well beyond them. Photo Credit: Tom Ward
Description
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Ericaceae
  • State: AL, GA
  • Nature Serve ID: 156622
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

Rhododendron prunifolium is one of the showiest native azaleas and can grow up to 18 ft in height (Wilson and Rheder 1921, Cox 1990, Dirr 1998). The clustered, brightly crimson-colored flowers bloom from mid-July to mid-August, and occasionally in September (Foote and Jones 1994) . The flowers' stamens are very long and project beyond the flower. It is the most glabrous species of all American rhododendrons. Its leaves are alternately arranged on the stem in tight clusters, dark green above, light beneath, smooth (except for the small hairs on the margins). It was first collected by R. M. Harper in the early 1900's and first grown at the Arnold Arboretum in 1918.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 10/08/2020
  • Seed Collection

This species has been successfully propagated from seed: Sow into milled Sphagnum, maintain humidity under cover, water carefully. Seedlings are tiny and growing slowly. Put them a few per pot first, to reduce the risk of overwatering; repot once they achieve sufficient size. And from softwood cuttings: Take cuttings in May-June, keep them under fog or mist in 50/50 sand-perlite. With 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA or H # 3 treatment, the rooting rate is 70-80%. Cuttings become more secure once they survive through the first winter. R. prunifolium was successfully cultivated near Philadelphia, PA (on a southern slope at Gladwyne) and at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA.

  • 10/08/2020
  • Reintroduction

This species has been successfully propagated from seed: Sow into milled Sphagnum, maintain humidity under cover, water carefully. Seedlings are tiny and growing slowly. Put them a few per pot first, to reduce the risk of overwatering; repot once they achieve sufficient size. And from softwood cuttings: Take cuttings in May-June, keep them under fog or mist in 50/50 sand-perlite. With 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA or H # 3 treatment, the rooting rate is 70-80%. Cuttings become more secure once they survive through the first winter. R. prunifolium was successfully cultivated near Philadelphia, PA (on a southern slope at Gladwyne) and at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA.

  • 10/08/2020
  • Tissue Culture

This species has been successfully propagated from seed: Sow into milled Sphagnum, maintain humidity under cover, water carefully. Seedlings are tiny and growing slowly. Put them a few per pot first, to reduce the risk of overwatering; repot once they achieve sufficient size. And from softwood cuttings: Take cuttings in May-June, keep them under fog or mist in 50/50 sand-perlite. With 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA or H # 3 treatment, the rooting rate is 70-80%. Cuttings become more secure once they survive through the first winter. R. prunifolium was successfully cultivated near Philadelphia, PA (on a southern slope at Gladwyne) and at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA.

  • 10/08/2020
  • Propagation Research

This species has been successfully propagated from seed: Sow into milled Sphagnum, maintain humidity under cover, water carefully. Seedlings are tiny and growing slowly. Put them a few per pot first, to reduce the risk of overwatering; repot once they achieve sufficient size. And from softwood cuttings: Take cuttings in May-June, keep them under fog or mist in 50/50 sand-perlite. With 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA or H # 3 treatment, the rooting rate is 70-80%. Cuttings become more secure once they survive through the first winter. R. prunifolium was successfully cultivated near Philadelphia, PA (on a southern slope at Gladwyne) and at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Perhaps 50-60 sites known, most populations small, habitat threatened by careless logging.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

R. prunifolium is in danger of extinction, as few new seedlings are found in the natural habitats. Natural habitats vanish due to plant succession. Due to erosion after logging, many of the sites suitable for R. prunifolium have vanished. Disturbance b

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

The Georgia Natural Heritage program discovered 41 populations known from southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia recorded from seven counties in Georgia (USFWS 1989)

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

This species has been successfully propagated from seed: Sow into milled Sphagnum, maintain humidity under cover, water carefully. Seedlings are tiny and growing slowly. Put them a few per pot first, to reduce the risk of overwatering; repot once they achieve sufficient size. And from softwood cuttings: Take cuttings in May-June, keep them under fog or mist in 50/50 sand-perlite. With 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA or H # 3 treatment, the rooting rate is 70-80%. Cuttings become more secure once they survive through the first winter. R. prunifolium was successfully cultivated near Philadelphia, PA (on a southern slope at Gladwyne) and at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

There is no formal management plan.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Management needs include habitat protection, population monitoring and establishment of new populations. Research of this species general biology and reproductive ecology would aid in conservation efforts.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Rhododendron prunifolium
Authority (Small) Millais
Family Ericaceae
CPC Number 3738
ITIS 23728
USDA RHPR2
Common Names plumleaf azalea
Associated Scientific Names Rhododendron prunifolium | Azalea prunifolia
Distribution R. prunifolium was historically found in western and southwestern Georgia, eastern and southeastern Alabama (Georgia-Alabama border) (Godfrey 1988).
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S2S3
Georgia S3
Habitat

R. prunifolium can be found growing in low, moist sites in forested (beech-maple-magnolia) ravines along streams. In Canyon Park, Georgia, it is common at forest edges near streams at the bottoms of 150-foot canyons that emerged as a result of farming practices during the mid-19th century (Cox 1990, Dirr 1998, Foote and Jones 1994).

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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