Most azalea flowers have a small cup of green leaves (sepals) at the base of the flower tube. This set of leaves is called a calyx. If this is genetically modified, either by nature or breeding, into a complete set of petals, the flower is called Hose-in-Hose. They appear behind the normal 5 petals, peeking out from between. A Single azalea flower will normally have 5 petals and 5 stamens (see posting below). Hose-in-Hose flowers appear to have 10 petals. If the flower is a Semi-double or Double (again, see below), it takes on the aspect of a rose. So, it is possible for a flower to have the extra set of petals from the calyx and be a Single, Semi-double or Double (all depending on modifications of the stamens; again, see below).
In this posting I show 4 pictures, one of which is NOT of a Hose-in-Hose. Don’t worry, it’s labeled. This is not a test!
When ALL of the stamens have been modified into petals, only the pistil remains as a reminder of the sexual possibilities. The flowers are reminiscent of roses. These types of plants are best reproduced by layering, a topic for another time.
For those of you curious about gardening, I have informative, philosophical and humorous essays, posted once a month on the 20th, each with only one picture, at:
Single flowers have 5 stamens and 1 pistil. Semi-double flowers have fewer stamens as they’ve been turned into petals. If all 5 stamens have become petals than the flower is named “double” and will be a topic for another time.
In the photos below, look for extra petals near the middle of each flower and a some unchanged stamens. In most, but not all, azaleas, the stamens have a dark head (the anther) and the pistil has a light-colored head.
The first picture below is Bob Stewart’s first introduction, ‘Ashley Ruth’.
The next two are unnamed Joe Klimavicz hybrids.
If you’d like to read my gardening blog, which has a lot more words and a lot fewer pictures, it rests at:
Most people aren’t aware that the flower shapes have been categorized. This posting will cover the simplest of the shapes: the single. Later posts will display hose-in-hose, semi-double and double flowers
Single flowers have 5 petals and 5 stamens (and one pistil.) At the base of the flower’s tube will be a very small rosette of green leaves, called: the calyx. In some of the pictures below, look for flowers that sit sideways and you can see it.
If you’re up for some essays about the gardening life, check out:
I’m now in the dark, colorless time of year when the neighbor’s houses stand out unscreened by vegetation.
A few pictures from last May give me the strength to continue, and see those views again next May:
Nature is always hybridizing: changing the daughter’s DNA through the effects of radiation, chemicals and the mixing of the DNA of both parents. Thus, the variety of life.
Humans also hybridize, mimicking the methods of nature, most frequently by applying the pollen of one plant to the ovaries of another. Almost all of the 300 azaleas in my yard come from the hybridizing of evergreen azaleas, whose origin is the Far East. However, hybridizing in Japan, China, and Korea goes back so many centuries that it is often impossible to tell if an old plant was a species taken from the wild, or an early hybrid. Complicating the problem is the fact that modern civilization has destroyed the habitats of many plants, so we often can’t look to nature to ID species.
Below are three plants that most botanists would agree are species, or so similar to species that it isn’t possible to tell that they aren’t.
First is Koromo Shikabu. Notice how long and thin the petals are.
Second is Delaware Valley White. The petals are broad.
Third is Poukhanense, from Korea. The flower shape is similar to Delaware Valley White, but it has a strong purple blotch, whereas DVW has no significant blotch.
If you are up for some philosophical essays on the gardening life, try my essay blog with a new post every month on about the 20th. There are over 30 that have been published:
chronicles the overall thinking, but not the specific blues that hit at this, frozen time of year.
I find myself looking at pictures of my plants from last spring and summer each January and February. Did my yard really ever look that green and dense? While it seems impossible, I know that I took those photos and it was real. For example: