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A deciduous or sub-evergreen shrub of somewhat irregular, thin habit, 4 to 6 ft high, glabrous. Leaves alternate, oblong-ovate or oblong-elliptic, tapering at the base, pointed or rounded at the apex, shallowly toothed, they and the young shoots coated with a glaucous-white bloom. Flowers fragrant, pendent, borne in June and July, in axillary clusters on the terminal portion of the shoots of the previous year, each on a stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, forming in effect leafy or naked racemes 4 to 8 in. long. Corolla pure white, broadly bell-shaped, about 3⁄8 in. wide, with five shallow lobes. Calyx-lobes five, triangular, persisting at the base of the dry, flattish-globose (or orange-shaped) capsule.
Native of the eastern USA from southeast Virginia to S. Carolina; introduced around 1800. With fragrant flowers like large lilies-of-the-valley and glaucous young stems and leaves this is one of the loveliest of ericaceous shrubs. It is perfectly hardy and tolerates almost full sun, but suffers in droughty summers, especially when planted in the root-run of large trees, and the young growths may be cut by late frost. It needs a moist, peaty or leafy soil, and may be propagated by cuttings of half-ripened wood placed in gentle heat about July. This method is preferable to raising from seed, as there is some variation in the whiteness of the foliage and the size of flower, and the best forms cannot be relied upon to come true from seed. The flowering part of the shoot, from beneath which the young shoots spring, should be cut off as soon as the flowers have faded, if seed is not required.
Zenobia pulverulenta received a First Class Certificate in 1934.
Andromeda speciosa var. nitida Michx.
A. cassinefolia Vent.
A. cassinefolia var. nuda Vent.
Zenobia speciosa (Michx.) D. Don
Z. pulverulenta var. nuda (Vent.) Rehd.
Z. cassinefolia (Vent.) Pollard