Japanese Azalea
Japanese Azalea is a deciduous low tree distributed throughout Japan from the southwestern area of Hokkaido to Kyushu.   It grows naturally in marsh area, grassland and secondary open forest and can be up to 1 to 2m in height.
From April to June, the Japanese Azalea produces orange flowers around its leaves opening.   Typical azalea flower ranges from red to purple in color but the Japanese Azalea ranges from yellow to orange.   The plant which develops yellow flowers is called Rhododendron japonicum f. flavum.
The leaves are 4 to 8cm in length and hairy in texture.
Japanese Azalea is a poisonous plant which contains diterpenes, grayanotoxin, rhodjaponine, etc. throughout the whole plant.   Cases of poisoning have been reported due to consumption of its honey.
Since the Japanese Azalea is also poisonous to horses and cows, it is not eaten, and therefore left to form its large community.
The most common Japanese Azalea community is that of Yunomaru highland, which is located in the southwestern edge of Tsumagoi village in Gunma Prefecture.   This community contains about 600,000 stocks and spreads to an altitude of approximately 1,700m on the mountainside of Mt. Yunomaru.   It has been designated as a national nature preserve.
Happo-gahara lies at an altitude between 1,000 to 1,200m in Nikko National Park and was formerly a war-horse ranch, which is now home to a different Japanese Azalea community.   About 200,000 stocks of Japanese Azalea grow there now.
Another community grows in Mikobo-kogen, at an altitude of approximately 1,650m in the southern edge of the Chichibu Mountains in Koshu Shi, Yamanashi Prefecture.
Classification: Ericaceae Rhododendron
Scientific name: Rhododendron molle G. Don
Japanese name: Renge-tsutsuji
English Name: Japanese Azalea
Native locality: Japan and China
Ecological description: Low deciduous tree
RDB : ---
Planting place: Donguri Hiroba
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This photo was taken in Ainokura Gassho-style Village, Nanto Shi, Toyama prefecture.   Ainokura is covered with deep snow.   Every autumn, special measures are taken to preserve the Azarea plants covering them with a snow fence, consisting of bamboo pieces that protect these Azarea branches from snow damage.