"clumps of azalea"
Azaleas at Hazlehead Park
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAzaleas at Hazlehead Park - Credit: Richard Slessor

 Azaleas are flowering shrubs which belong to two sub-genera of the genus Rododendron. When grown en masse, their bright colours can create a spectacular display.

Like rhododendrons, their leaves and nectar contain some toxic substances, and historically the sending of either azaleas or rhododendrons in a black vase was a recognised death-threat.

Later on in the text, we learn that white azalea was the favourite perfume of Maxim de Winter's first wife, Rebecca.