Georgia SuperGraphic

Rare Plumleaf Azalea

Without the poor practices of early American agriculture, this beautiful geological rarity would not exist and thus could not provide a perfect place for the endangered plumleaf azalea to bloom. Scientists believe that the first sight of Providence Canyon reveals a landscape totally unsuitable for azaleas; however, an abundance of the rare plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) blooms in the canyon's depths in late July (continuing through September). Rhododendron prunifolium is the rarest of Eastern native deciduous azaleas and is being considered by the federal government as a candidate for the Endangered Species List. Existing in only a handful of counties, these plumleaf azaleas can be found along the Georgia-Alabama border in the Chattahoochee River Valley, where they can be seen in ravines and along steep stream banks that are also home to mixed hardwoods and pines. More plumleaf azaleas are seen in the wild at Providence Canyon than anywhere else in the world.

Plumleaf azaleas are large shrubs or small trees that bloom in a raceme of four to seven orange-red to bright-red flowers and are happy in light shade; however, they must get plenty of bright light while still being protected from severely hot afternoon sun. At maturity, the plumleaf azalea may grow up to 10 feet or more.

Related images

Plumleaf Azalea
Photo Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Rare Plumleaf Azalea

A Little Grand Canyon Existing in Georgia Visiting Providence Canyon State Park