Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Copper Bald Azaleas

I hiked up to Cold Springs Shelter on the Appalachian Trail this morning with a trash bag and rake to clean up the camping areas and put a new pipe in the spring.  Afterward, I ambled on up to the top of Copper Bald and shot a few pics of the Copper Bald Azaleas hiding among all the blooming Mountain Laurel and Flame Azaleas.

                                             Rhododendron arborescens, the Sweet Azalea, has white to blush pink flowers with red stamens, and a very strong fragrance similar to heliotrope. It blooms in late spring to early summer and individual flowers measure 1.5 to 2 inches across.
First described by John Bartram in 1814, this species has a wide distribution in the eastern United States, but can usually be found growing near streams or moist areas. It is sometimes known as the "Smooth Azalea" because the stems are very smooth and do not have hairs similar to the other azaleas.


I am not certain if the pink azalea is also R. arborescens or another naturalized hybrid. I'll have to look a little closer next time.

The AT does tunnel through the laurels towards the top of Copper Bald.

 There's a pretty decent and flat campsite right behind this sign. I'll have to bring the grandsons here to camp in a few years.