All over the city, the azaleas (Rhododendron sp.) are in full bloom. They are a common hedge in Osaka and during the first two weeks in May, the pink, purple and white flowers are everywhere. The 80 – 117 different species native to Japan, China and northeast Asia belong to the sub-genus, Azaleastrum. They are beautiful, but highly poisonous, with the leaves and nectar having high levels of poison. I read sending them in a black vase could be a viewed as a death threat.
My son Oliver is shown above in front of a hedgerow of azaleas. You can see the three varieties of azaleas. We have the dark pink variety in our garden as you can see below with my daughter Ocean. They are known as tsutsuji here in Japan and a couple of cities have festivals.