Spotlight of the Week in the Wildflowers of North America group.
Wild or Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) growing in the Six Rivers National Forest, east of Smith River, California.
A member of the Ericaceae or Heath family which includes blueberries, cranberries, huckleberries, kinnikinnick, manzanita, and many other plants common throughout the northwestern US, Western Azalea can be found from Bandon, Oregon to northern San Diego County, California.
The plant can grow up to 15 feet in height and is tolerant of serpentine soils. It is especially common in the Siskiyou Mountains that cross the California/Oregon state line.
I have several varieties of hybrid azalea growing in my yard on the northern California Coast, but none are as lovely as this one growing wild among the redwoods.