Swamp azalea is native to the eastern and southern United States. It prefers swampy lowland
habitats with a uniform level of soil moisture.
Plants: Woody, evergreen or deciduous shrubs are 3-5' (91-152 cm) around, rarely reaching
8' (2.4 m) and (by some accounts) up to 12' (3.7 m) in width. They have a somewhat
Leaves: Alternate, lustrous, dark green,
narrow, obovate to oblong-obovate,
with blunt or short-pointed tips. In the fall, leaves turn orange or maroon.
Flowers: White to pale pink, 1¼-1¾" (3.2-4.4 cm) long,
in clusters of 4-9. Each flower consists of a long, narrow, very sticky tube, flared at the end into
a corolla of five fused petal-like lobes. Five stamens extend beyond the flower, with
Flowers have a sweet, musky, clove-like
aroma—said to be the most aromatic of all azaleas. Blooms from May to July.
Fruits: Capsules are ¼-¾" (7-20 mm) × ⅛-¼" (3-7 mm),
in dark brown clusters.
Edibility: Poisonous All parts of the plant are poisonous and may
be fatal if eaten. The poison is adromedotoxin. Symptoms of poisoning include salivation, watering of eyes and
nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficulty breathing,
program paralysis of extremities, and coma.