Our rhododendrons have burst forth in bloom this week! They are gorgeous, although the photos don't do them justice due to the brightness of the sun (not that I'm complaining on this beautiful day).
The name rhododendron comes from the Greek, rhodon = rose, and dendron = tree. According to Mervyn Kessell, in his book, Rhododendrons and Azaleas [635.9336 KES],
Rhododendron is probably the largest of all the genera of woody plants, containing in the region of 770 species, although this does not take into account subspecies and naturally occurring varieties.
I did not realize that rhododendrons are a member of the heath family. The heath family also includes blueberries and cranberries! And azaleas. Most azalea blossoms have faded, except for the ones in the shade at the front of the library, one of which you can see here.
Borrow Botanica's Trees and Shrubs [635.9 BOT] to learn about, and see photos of, flowering shrubs including rhodis. For even more specific information and photos, go to the American Rhododendron Society's website. They claim to have over 900 images!
Come July, take a trip to Fitzwilliam to Rhododendron State Park. The park has 16 acres of Rhododendron maximum, which are in bloom around mid-July.