11. Rhododendron vaseyi A. Gray, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 15: 48. 1879.
Azalea vaseyi (A. Gray) Rehder; Biltia vaseyi (A. Gray) Small
Shrubs, to 2.5(-5.5) m, rhizom-atous. Stems: bark smooth to vertically furrowed, shredding; twigs sparsely to moderately scattered, multicellular stipitate-glandular-hairy and eglandular-hairy (hairs unbranched), also unicellular-hairy, glabrate in age. Leaves deciduous; petiole multicellular eglandular- and stipitate-glandular-hairy and unicellular-hairy; blade elliptic to obovate, 2.3-17 × 0.8-5.5 cm, thin, membranous, margins entire or undulate, plane, widely scattered to densely eglandular-hairy, apex acuminate, abaxial surface scattered stipitate-glandular-hairy, adaxial surface scattered stipitate-glandular-hairy and eglandular-hairy, especially near margins. Floral bud scales glabrous or nearly so abaxially, stipitate-glandular-hairy, often also unicellular-hairy along margins. Inflorescences 5-15-flowered; bracts similar to bud scales. Pedicels 5-26 mm, stipitate-glandular-hairy. Flowers opening before development of leaves, erect to horizontal, fragrant; calyx lobes 0.3-8.5 mm, glandular-ciliate, often also scattered, stipitate-glandular-hairy; corolla pale to deep pink, sometimes white, with orange-brown or red spots on upper lobes, widely campanulate and appearing ± 2-lipped due to more extensive connation of 3 upper lobes and 2 flaring, slightly longer lower lobes, 18-37 mm, glabrous on outer surface, petals connate, upper lobe 10-18 mm, lateral lobes 14-24 mm, lower lobes 15-30 mm, tube gradually expanding into lobes, 3-8 mm (to 1/4 as long as lobes); stamens (5-)7, not or only slightly exserted, ± unequal, 12-38 mm; filaments glabrous. Capsules borne on erect pedicels, 9-17 × 3-6 mm, very sparsely to moderately multicellular stipitate-glandular-hairy. Seeds with ± stellate-globular tails; testa tightly appressed. 2n = 26.
Flowering spring. Montane bogs, rocky summits, heath balds, steep slopes in deciduous or coniferous forests; 900-1800 m; N.C.
Rhododendron vaseyi is widely cultivated because of its beautiful flowers.