Rhododendron eastmanii

Project lead: Charles Horn

Federal Status: not listed

Rhododendron eastmanii (May-white Azalea) was first described as a species in 1999. This is a unique species in having glandular bud scale margins, flowers that opened after leaves are fully expanded, and white petals, commonly with a yellow blotch on the inner upper corolla lobe. This species was initially described from two sites, one each in Richland and Orangeburg Counties, South Carolina.

Since that time additional locations have been discovered increasing the known distribution to 70 populations in 13 counties. Most of the populations are located in the Broad/Congaree Watershed within the counties of Laurens, Newberry and Union; however, discoveries have been made in the Wateree River watershed. Two populations in Greenwood county may represent transplants. This species continues to be an endemic of South Carolina, yet a population has been discovered at Cowpens State Par, less than 3 miles from the North Carolina state line.

Ecologically, plants are found on slopes above streams at the ecotone between the wet bottoms and dry uplands. Plants appear to require a mature hardwood forest habitat to grow well. White oak and Christmas fern have been consistently found associated with the May-white azalea.

Links

USDA Plants Profile

NatureServe Species Report

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