Mountains Aflame with Color

Flame Azalea

Flame Azalea is a Rhododendron species, a group sometimes referred to as “honeysuckle” because of the long “exerted” stamens like the familiar Japanese Honeysuckle.

They are brilliant now along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County, gone by in many lower elevation locations, just coming into full bloom higher up.

They range in color from the palest yellow to deep, dark orange and reds.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. We saw lots of these orange-colored flowering shrubs at Biltmore Estates earlier this month, but I didn’t know what they were. We thought they looked like azaleas but weren’t sure since we’d never seen ORANGE azaleas! Thanks for the info.