Rhododendron vaseyi A. Gray. Phen: May-Jun; Aug-Oct. Hab: Moist slopes, bogs, high elevation rocky summits, cliffs, high elevation heath balds. Dist: Endemic to the mountains of NC, though approaching very close to SC and GA in the vicinity of Cashiers and Highlands, NC and reported for Rabun Bald (Rabun Co. GA) without definite documentation; R. vaseyi occurs primarily southwest of the Asheville Basin, but is found at scattered locations farther north and is locally abundant on Grandfather Mountain (at the junction of Avery, Watauga, and Caldwell counties, NC), its northernmost outpost. Cultivated outside its native distribution.
ID notes:When not in flower, R. vaseyi is readily distinguished from our other azaleas by its distinctive foliage; the leaves are elliptic (broadest near their midpoint rather than oblanceolate), often broadly so (commonly 3-6 cm wide), acuminate, often with purplish coloration.
Origin/Endemic status: Endemic
Synonymy: = F, FNA8, K1, K3, K4, NE, RAB, W, Judd & Kron (1995), Luteyn et al (1996), Wilson & Rehder (1921); = Biltia vaseyi (A.Gray) Small – S