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Rhododendron or Chervona Ruta

Once a year, the breathtaking landscapes of Ukrainian Carpathians are painted with rare magic blooms

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Last updated: by Olha Savych
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Rhododendron occurs in ample colors and shapes, but Ukrainian Carpathians are home to one rare variety. It's identified by tender pink blossoms and a strong smell that can make you feel dizzy. The first blooms pop up on the shrubs as the nights get warm enough, and the true rhododendron goodness explodes with the onset of summer. By mid-June, mountain slopes get blanketed with mesmerizing pink flowers, but the short blooming season is usually over by the end of the month.

Rhododendron is common in the highlands and meadows. You can catch a unique feast of nature along the hiking trails of the Chornohora, the Marmaross, and the Svydovets mountain ranges. Just don't pick up the crimson beauties, for rhododendron is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine as an endangered plant. Instead, enjoy these gorgeous flowers in their natural environment.

In Ukraine, rhododendron has another local name—chervona ruta, meaning red flower. It stems from an old legend about a magic mountain bloom that flourishes only once in ten years. According to the folk tale, a girl who finds the flower is supposed to give it to her lover, and he will stay with her forever. In 1968, inspired by that story, a Ukrainian poet and composer, Volodymyr Ivasiuk, wrote a song named "Chervona Ruta," known nationwide nowadays.

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