Rhododendron. A woody plant (genus: Rhododendron; Ukrainian: berdulets) of the family Ericaceae. There are hundreds of species worldwide; most are evergreen, and the deciduous ones are commonly called azaleas. Many are cultivated as ornamentals. In Ukraine the only native rhododendron (R. kochi), a shrub with deep violet-lilac flowers, grows in the East Carpathian Mountains on the rocky slopes of subalpine and alpine ranges (elevations to 2,000 m). Whole islands of rhododendron exist in Polisia on the azalea preserve near Tomashhorod. Rhododendron honey is often toxic.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]