Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Orange Azaleas

The bight orange hues above have been brightening my journey to and from work for the last few weeks. The Azalea grows wild throughout my area of Appalachia-I’m sure it grows beyond as well.

Growing up Granny called them Flame Azaleas. I’ve heard the lovelies called Orange Azaleas as well as wild Honeysuckle.

My Uncle Henry told me if you dig up a wild azalea and plant it in your yard it might bloom a different color if it lives. Lucky for me I have a wild one growing just at the edge of the woods where I can see it every time I wash dishes this time of the year.



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  • Reply
    May 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    We called them wild honeysuckle…nothing smells better!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Thank you for the flowers! And Don’s pictures are breathtaking and informative.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I always enjoy seeing these beauties Tipper. We sometimes find these wild ones growing here in Florida too.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Came back to read everyone’s comments, and so glad I did because Don Casada’s slideshow is one of the prettiest hikes I’ve ever been on! Thank you for posting a link to those beautiful photos, Don – really made my morning and I’m going to save the link so I can enjoy them again and again!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    We were tickled to find out what all your beautiful plants were, when we were in your area last week. Wait we just left there yesterday!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    These are stunning flowers. I would love to see them in person.

  • Reply
    RB Redmond
    May 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Orange Azaleas. They’re gorgeous, and I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for ’em. A friend of ours told about her mother finding a yellow one and planting it in her yard which she’d carefully crafted with beautiful flower gardens everywhere. After she died, sadly, the new owner of her home dug up all her flowers and tossed them, opting instead for grass everywhere instead. Can you imagine?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    May 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    We had gorgeous Flame Azalea, multi-colored rhododendron, and cherry laurel around our house on Eagle’s Nest in Waynesville, NC. I would imagine the shrubs are still there even though our home burnt to the ground so many years ago. I can still see those gorgeous blossoms in my mind’s eye.

  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    May 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    These are really pretty, I love the orange color. You’re very lucky to have these around your area to see from your window or when you’re driving. Thanks for sharing the beautiful picture.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I am usually half asleep many mornings when I make a comment. I also am not as perceptive as I need to be. It wasn’t until I read a comment by another mentioning Don’s photos that I went back to see the photos (not knowing what I had missed) I would like to say that those photos are super good! They are so professional! WOW!!!!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    There are two in the woods behind our cabin, the first time I saw them I had to hike down to see what they were. I had never seen them in that color before.

  • Reply
    b. ruth
    May 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Your Granny is right about the name of the Azalea…My Smoky Mountain Wildflower book lists it as the Flame Azalea,scientific name Rhododendren calendulaceum, of the Heath Family flora.
    My family always called it the Flame azalea or wild honeysuckle bush…
    I transplanted a Pinkster-Flower from the ridge about my house down to the part-shady garden along with a Laurel. They bloomed for years until an old diseased tree fell over on them. It seemed they couldn’t recover after that. I think it was more the conditions of the acid soil and shade/sun combo than the squashing of the plants…They bloomed a few more years but each year fading with growth and bloom.
    I forget exactly where it was as I was a very young girl visiting with my aunt and uncle. We went blueberry pickin’ and the area was on a bald of sorts. They seemed to call it blueberry hill. Didn’t seem like a hill to me, more of a mountain. I was warned to stay close to them because of the rattlesnakes..I didn’t care much at that time of the tiny blueberries, but the view of the “Rhodies” was beautiful. I thought if I ever had a home, my garden would have those flame azaleas…
    Thanks for the memory,
    Great post….Also I lost my comment from yesterday…I mentioned that I thought Laurel/Ivy has such an out of this world flower…so odd five point when the flower is open, and ten dark dots in the opening. Then the weird spring action of the stamens when the bee trips on them tossing the pollen…

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    May 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    How lovely, the orange azaleas!
    And how wonderful it was to find your comment on my “The Empty Chair” post, Tipper! Thank you! And how much I missed your blog, you and your family’s journies, and Appalachia!
    It’s been a difficult journey these past couple of years as you may have found that my mother passed on January 9th of this year. And my father is now 85 with vascular dementia. I’ve just about had time to breathe, let alone blog, even write…
    I’m still working on that “new normal,” but I intend to come by and sit on your porch and share your hospitality as often as possible, Tipper!
    Hope you and yours are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
    Petra :))

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    WOW, What a beautiful sight to behold!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Please tell Don Casada that his photos are exquisite! If I ever get out that way, wonder if he’d give me a guided tour?!
    Those beautiful views in the Appalachian mountains are one of the things I miss from my husband’s tour of duty in D.C. He only had 1 1/2 days off each week (not complaining – I am very grateful he was stateside) and we traveled up to Skyline Ridge at least once a month. Coming from South Texas, those misty moisty hills were magical for me.
    I carried the babies, one in a front pack, one in a back pack – and my husband held back branches for me and the babies and checked out the trail ahead for slippery places. I also carried the camera so I could stop whenever I wanted to to take pictures. I remember seeing the wild azaleas and some pink, white, and lavender rhododendron but never saw those gorgeous flame rhododendron. I do hope to see those in person some time.
    In the mean time – thanks for some wonderful memories.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    May 25, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Tipper, I love the Fame Azalea. We have lots on Cherry Mountain. I also saw one tall as a tree on Mother’s Day at Hamilton Gardens on Lake Cjatuge in the Georgia Mountains. I took a photo of it. Will post

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Those Azaleas are gorgeous! I don’t
    know all the Mountain bushes that
    bloom, but my friend Don sure has
    some beautiful pictures of our
    Mountains. I’m glad he shared some
    of his travels in his comment link.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    May 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Where I grew up there were pink ones that grew near the swamp and we called them pink honeysuckle.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I have tried, unsuccessfully, to have one of these Azaleas in my yard. I just love them and their rich color. One year I purchased four of these plants from a mountain nursery, but they just didn’t like it here. You are so blessed to have the beauty of one of these.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    May 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Lovely view you have. The wild azaleas are beautiful but becoming less seen around my area of Buncombe County. A former neighbor of mine, when forced to move by construction of I40 through the valley, transplanted a rhododendron. The next spring its blooms were no longer white but a lovely purple. Mama always believed mineral content in the ground caused the change. Aren’t we blessed to live in these beautiful old mountains!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

    We have a couple of large Flame Azaleas growing on our property in Brevard. They are next to the driveway so that they can be easily seen and enjoyed.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I always enjoy seeing these beauties Tipper. We sometimes find these wild ones growing here in Florida too.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 25, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Although I know the honeysuckle is a vine with blossoms, we in Choestoe sometimes called the wild azalea a “honeysuckle bush.” I wonder if any others knew it by that name, too. Later we came to realize it was, indeed, a genus of the azalea. And yes, it is hard to get the “forest” look of it in its blossoms when transplanted. Maybe it’s because the soil is hard to make as compatible as the wild azalea’s woodland home. You’re fortunate to have one near enough to you to see; beautiful!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 25, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I’ve heard them called Flame Azaleas. The Flame is the original wild color. My friend Lorraine had one in her yard here in Black Mountain. She loved the Flame azaleas and wanted one for her yard so a friend went to the mountains and dug her a real big one. By big I mean about 5 feet tall with a large root base. She planted it and it lived and was covered with those gorgeous Flame blooms.
    Lorraine later sold her house and moved back to Florida, and that Flame Azalea bloomed very spectacularly one year so I made pictures of it and sent them to her.
    Tipper that beautiful Flame picture with the blue sky behind it is just two of the reasons why we call this God’s country.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 25, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Yep, that is the same plant I called honeysuckle in my comment yesterday. The pinxterbloom kind have the same honeysuckle looking bloom only it is pink or light purplish. I ain’t so good with colors.
    We were always warned not to eat the honey out of flower of these honeysuckles like we did the vine kind because it is poison.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    May 25, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Beautiful!! It ‘s sad to say, but very few wild azaleas exist where I live in metro Atlanta.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 7:25 am

    What a stunning color! I wish that grew here, but I’ve never seen it. We do have one azalea that grows in the swamps and has little pink flowers that bloom before the leaves appear.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 25, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Another name for it is mountain honeysuckle. While a range of orange colors (from almost yellow to deep orange) is typical, there are places – with Gregory Bald being the standout that I know of – where there is everything from white to red. It is a bit of a pull to get up there, but if you’re in good shape, well worth it. Best time to go is typically mid-late June. If the cool weather continues, late June or maybe even early July might work out best. My favorite way to go, from Twentymile Creek, is longer and more difficult than from the TN side (Cades Cove and Parsons Branch Road).
    A few pictures from Gregory Bald (as well as going to/from) is here:

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Once years ago and being a little boy, I was climbing a Dogwood tree. The tree was in partial shade and didn’t have many blooms. I always loved colors and was admiring the blooms when I saw something that no one ever believed I had seen. It was one lone orange bloom among the white ones. It was an orange hue and a rather light one at that but, definitely orange. The orange azalea brought that back to mind.
    By the way that picture of the little girl and the shawl from yesterday was neat. Granny has lots of talents it seems. Still ain’t forgot that poem about “Woods.”

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 5:24 am

    Your orange azalea is gorgeous! I used to have a pink azalea on the veranda. I think it’s also known as rhododendron. It would bloom in late March or early April but the blooms didn’t last very long – just like my orchid. I guess that was because of our warm weather in spring.

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