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Rhododendron canadense - rhodora


Rhodora is a small modest shrub azalea from Canada well adapted to the Finnish climate, which is hardly surprising as it is the northernmost azalea in the world. It grows naturally in North America and survives even the semi-Arctic conditions of the Labrador peninsula in eastern Canada’s conifer belt.

Particularly in the southern parts of its range it is found on bogs and along streams. Further north it also thrives on drier soils. It can form metre high dense thickets on boggy land, rather like the Finnish marsh Labrador tea (also known as wild rosemary), Ledum palustre. Rhodora flowers before the other azaleas and before leaf break, with small violet – occasionally white – delicate blossoms. In the flowering season a large densely growing thicket can be a startling sight in the otherwise rather monotonous northern conifer forests.

In Finland, rhodora would be suited best to moist, even occasionally wet areas in massed plantings, or in near natural woodland settings, where its smaller flowers come into their own without the competition of the commercial varieties.