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It is a shrub growing 2–9 m tall. The leaves, retained for 2–3 years, are 7–23 cm long and 3–7 cm broad. The flowers are 2.8–4 cm long, with five lobes on the corolla; color is usually pink, although variants exist.
This species, like many rhododendrons, thrives in disturbed habitats such as roadside embankments and recently deforested wildlands. The photo at the top of this page was taken in a forest in Oregon that was burnt over just three years before the time of the photo (2005). The rhododendrons in that area, both Pacific Rhododendrons and Western Azaleas, are already regrowing and blooming from the unburnt roots.