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R. pilosum (Menziesia pilosa) R. metternichii Til M Menziesia petandra

R. pilosum (Menziesia pilosa)

 Menziesia pilosa. Photo: Don Hyatt
Rhododendron pilosum, (Menziesia pilosa). Foto: Don Hyatt

 Menziesia pilosa at Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo: H. Eiberg
Rhododendron pilosum (Menziesia pilosa) på Blue Ridge Parkway MP400. Foto: H. Eiberg

 Menziesia pilosa. Photo:  Mike Creel
Rhododendron pilosum (Menziesia pilosa). Foto: Mike Creel

I was on Mount Mitchell in June and I think the plant you are seeing is called Minnie Bush, Menziesia pilosa. It is a member of the Ericaceae Family so it is closely related rhodos, azaleas, and blueberries. It has small, bell shaped flowers but nothing flashy. Cute, but often called "false azalea" because the foliage looks so similar to the natives. I'll attach a photo I shot of a blossom from a plant up there. I was beside a rock, almost at the top of Mount Mitchell where the trail turns to go up to the new lookout tower. Don Hyatt

Rhododendron pilosum (Menziesia pilosa)Abaxial leaf surfaces densely pilose, midvein scales narrowly oblong, lacerate or cleft; filaments glabrous; capsules densely stipitate-glandular; seeds brown, narrowly ovoid, ca. 1 mm including apiculuslike appendage of 0.1 mm; se United States.
Flora of North America

Flora of N America
Craven, L.A. (2011). Diplarche and Menziesia transferred to Rhododendron (Ericaceae). Blumea 56: 33-35. Abstract: The genera Diplarche and Menziesia have been shown to be nested in Rhododendron based upon cladistic analyses of DNA data. Morphologically, the differences between Diplarche and Menziesia are not so great that their inclusion in Rhododendron is inappropriate and the species of these two genera are formally transferred to Rhododendron. The following new names are proposed: Rhododendron benhallii, R. chamberlainii, R. goyozanense, R. × kamatae, R. katsumatae, R. kroniae, R. menziesii, R. menziesii subsp. glabellum, R. multiflorum, R. multiflorum forma bicolor, R. multiflorum forma brevicalyx, R. multiflorum var. purpureum, R. pentandrum, R. pilosum, R. sophistarum, R. yakushimense. Carven artikel

Menziesia petandra Til M R. metternichii