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Photographing the RHODODENDRON has always been a challenge.  These beautiful flowers  bruise and whither quickly, so sometimes stumbling upon a pleasing composition is cause for quiet celebration.  Rhododendron is a genus of over 1,000 species in the Ericaceae Family.  They are native to Asia and the Southern Appalachian Mountains of the United States. 


Rhododendron has eight subgenera:  Rhododendron and Hymenanthese contain about half of all known species and are the species typically considered "Rhododendron";  subgenera Tsutsusi and Pentanthera are the "Azaleas"; and there are four smaller subgenera with relatively few species.


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Interesting Notes:

The Rhododendron is the National Flower of Nepal.  It is considered edible and relished for its sour taste and distinctive flavor.


Some rhododendron species are considered to be poisonous to animals and extremely toxic to horses.


People have been reported ill-effects from eating honey made by bees frequenting azaleas and rhododendrons.  The honey from Rhododendron Luteum and Rhododendron Ponticum had both a laxative effect as well as a hallucinogenic effect .