Azalea gave a devilish smile as she saw the beastmen surround her. "My, are we playing a new game now? How about we bet our lives?" she teased, standing from her seat. With a wave of her hands, a bright flash and a thunderous roar swept the room. When the beastman returned to their senses, they saw huge cracks running through the walls. "There's no cancelling this bet."
Azaleas are flowering shrubs comprising two of the eight subgenera of the genus Rhododendron: the Tsutsuji (evergreen) and Pentanthera (deciduous). Azaleas bloom in spring, their flowers often lasting several weeks. Shade tolerant, they prefer living near or under trees.
In addition to being renowned for its beauty, the Azalea is also highly toxic — it contains andromedotoxins in both its leaves and nectar, including honey from the nectar. The Azalea and Rhododendron were once so infamous for their toxicity that to receive a bouquet of their flowers in a black vase was a well-known death threat.
In Chinese culture, the azalea is known as "thinking of home bush" (sixiang shu) and is immortalized in the poetry of Du Fu and is used to rich effect in contemporary stories.
The azalea is also one of the symbols of the city of São Paulo, in Brazil.
Artwork by NOX.