|Japanese Azalea Rhododendron - Rhododendron japonicum|
All parts of Rhododendrons are toxic to animals if ingested.
Blooms mid-May (this plant was photographed May 26, near Chicago).
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A decidious shrub growing to 2m. Hardy to zone 5. Flowers April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. The plant prefers light sandy, well-drained but moist soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or full sun.
Rhododendron (from the Greek: rhodos, "rose", and dendron, "tree") is a genus of flowering plants in the Heath Family (Ericaceae). It is a large genus with over 1000 species. Most have very colorful, showy flowers. It includes the plants known to gardeners as azaleas.
Both species and hybrid rhododendrons (including azaleas) are used extensively as ornamental plants in landscaping in many parts of the world, and many species and cultivars are grown commercially. Most large commercial growers in the United States are located on the west coast.
Rhododendrons are valued in landscaping for their structure, size, flowers, and the fact that many of them are evergreen. Azaleas are frequently used around foundations and occasionally as hedges, and many larger-leafed rhododendrons lend themselves well to more informal plantings and woodland gardens, or as specimen plants. In some areas, larger rhododendrons can be pruned to encourage more tree-like form, with some such as R. arboreum and R. falconeri eventually growing to 10-15 m or more tall.
All parts of Rhododendrons are toxic to animals if ingested. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, CNS depression, cardiovascular collapse and death. 
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