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Flora Armenia

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Flora in Armenia

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[Armenian
Flora in Armenia
Overview and Popular Spring Flora
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With 17 vegetation zones, the variety of plant-life in Armenia is truly astounding. The country has everything from desert plants to oak, beech and pine forests, wet marshland and sub-tropic plants to alpine meadows teeming with wild flowers.

There are even virgin fields of wild grain, the forebears of the first wheat in the ancient world, believed to have been cultivated in Armenia 12-15,000 years ago.  Known by their genus names Triticum Urartu and  Triticum Araraticum,  the wheat is native to the Ararat valley and can be found in small protected fields between Yerevan and Garni. 

Armenia's flora is so diverse and rich it seems all you would have to do is add cacti, palms and a rain forest, and your would pretty much complete the world's diversity of plant life.

Armenia has over 3,500 species of plants, more than half of the 6,000 that can be found in the entire Transcaucasus region.  While Europe has around 20,000 species, and the entire North American continent holds 40,000 species, with a total landmass of just under 30,000 sq. kilometers (about the size of Belgium), Armenia's diversity and close proximity of so many different types of flora is often breath-taking. 

Literally within an hour's drive of Yerevan, 5 completely unique topographies lie, each with its own varieties of flora, many lying on opposite sides of the highway.  While one side will hold forests teeming with woodland species, the other may be semi-desert, Mediterranean marshland, mountain steppe or alpine meadow.  Forests are home to particular species unique to the Transcaucasus, including the Arax Oak, Eastern Beech, Caucasian Pine, and a coniferous tree called the 'Tis'.

Native to Armenia are the apricot and peach.  The apricot was taken by Alexander the Great's army back to Greece, where the Romans then spread it througout Southern Europe.  Other fruits that grow in the country include apples, pears, cherries, mazzards, plums, pomegranites and an amazing variety of grapes.  The Ararat Valley sustained a large cotton industry before vineyards were promoted, with further diversification in vegetables and melons.

Popular Flora By Region
(Spring - May)

NORTH

Flora
Northern Shirak
flora include Iris lineolata, I. Caucasica, Merendera mirzoeval, Colchicum Szoritsii, Gagea ssp., Puschkinia scilloides, Draba ssp., Lallemautia caneseeus, Ranunculus ssp., Myosotis alpestris, Pedicularis ssp., Trifolium ssp., Gladiolus kotschyanus, Silene ssp.

Lower Elevation sagebrush steppe flora includes Gladiolus atroviolaceus, Nigella oxypetala, Actynolema macrolema, Gundelia tournefort, Verbascum saccatum, Lallemanita iberica, Roemeria retracta, Scabiosa argentea, Scorronera paposa, Muscari beglecta, Stchys inflata, Astragalus distyophysus, A. kochianus, Achillea tenuifolia, Helichrysum rubicundum, Silena spergulifolia.

River Gorge flora include Alkanna orientalis, Cerasus incana, Prus, salicifolia, Cerasus mahaleb, Amygdalus ferzlinia, Spirala crenata, Saxifraga cymbalaria.

Desert and semi-desert flora include (non Latin names) sagebrush, steppe grass, straw flowers, poppies and daisies.

Lori and Tavush
Mountain pass flora includes Iris furcata, Anemone fasciculata, A. raminculoides, Primula ruprechtii, P. macrocalyx, Trollius patulus, Caltha polypetala, Veratium lobelianum, Palsatilla armena, Corydalis persica, Fritillaria caucasica, Betonica grandiflora, Prunus spinosa, Sedum  pilosum, Sempervivum transcaucasicum, Malus orientalis, Pyrus caucasicus.

Mountain Flora include Tulipa florensvyi, T. confusa: f. pink, f. red, f. yellow, Iris grossheimii, I. Paradoxa, I. Caucasica, I. Pseudocaucasica, I. Atropatana, Mesendera candissima, Colchicum zangezurum, Hyacintella atropatana, Fritillaria kurdica, F. armena, Orchis simma, O. schelvcornikovii, O. stvenii, O. coriphora, Steveniella satyroides, Cephalanthera epipactoides, Epipactis latifolia, Acantholimon fedorovii, Reseda globulosa, Cercis griffithii, Gladiolus szovitsii, G. atroviolaceus, G. italicus, Punica granatum (wild), Tournefortia siberia, Calendula persica.

Northern flora include Iris imbricata, Tulipa sosnovskyi, Fritillaria pinardii, F. armenia, Colchicum ninae, C. Szovitsii, Merendera raddeana, Crocus asamii, Corydalis persica, Ornithogalum sigmoideum, O. transcaucasicum, Genista transcaucasica, Mespilus germanica, Scilla mistscheukoana.

River Gorge flora include Iris lineolata, I. Paradoxa, I. Caucasica, Allium stamineum, Bellevalia paradoxa, B. longystila, Muscari atropatana, M. sosnovskyi, Tulipa Sosnovskyi, Punica granatum, Vinca Vitis sylvestris, Ficus carica (wild).

Sub-region flora include Alkanna orientalis, Cerasus incana, Prus, salicifolia, Cerasus mahaleb, Amygdalus ferzlinia, Spirala crenata, Saxifraga cymbalaria, Linaria armeniaca, Acantholimon bracteatum, Illium akana, Tulipa julia, Corydalis augustifolius, Orni-thogalum mountanum, O. gussonei, Campanula choziatorskyi, Bellevalia longystila, Muscari neglecta, Lotus goebelia, Astragalus strictifolius, Serratula serratuloides, Tomanthea aucheri, Malus oreientalis, Prunus divaricata, Sorbus graeca, S. persica, S. aucuparia, Crataegus orientalis, C. lacimiata.

Other flora include Iris lineolata, I. Caucasia, Merendera mirzoeval, Colchicum szovitsii, Gagea ssp., Puschninia scilloides, Draba ssp., Lallemantia caneseens, Ranunculur ssp., Myosotis alpestris, Pedicularis ssp., Trifolium ssp., Gladiolus kotschyanus, Silene ssp.

CENTRAL

Aragatsotn and Kotaik
Flora in Aragats and Kotaik (Geghama Lehr) include Merendera trigyna, M. raddeana, colchiam bifolium, Purdminia scilloides, Scilla armenia, S. siberica, Tulipa julia, Iris caucasia, Muscari caucasicum, Bellevalia pycnantha, Ornithogalum schelkovnikovii, O. brachystachys, O. hyastanum, Fritillaria caucasia, Nectarosordum tripedale, Osp of gagea, Myosotis alpestre, Amenone caucasia, Orchis coriophora, Gladiolus tenuis.

Lower Elevation sagebrush steppe flora includes Gladiolus atroviolaceus, Nigella oxypetala, Actynolema macrolema, Gundelia tournefort, Verbascum saccatum, Lallemanita iberica, Roemeria retracta, Scabiosa argentea, Scorronera paposa, Muscari beglecta, Stchys inflata, Astragalus distyophysus, A. kochianus, Achillea tenuifolia, Helichrysum rubicundum, Silena spergulifolia.

River Gorge flora include Alkanna orientalis, Cerasus incana, Prus, salicifolia, Cerasus mahaleb, Amygdalus ferzlinia, Spirala crenata, Saxifraga cymbalaria.

Geghard Gorge is particularly unique, with Linaria armeniaca, Acantholimon bracteatum, Illium akana, Tulipa julia, Corydalis augustifolius, Orni-thogalum mountanum, O. gussonei, Campanula choziatorskyi, Bellevalia longystila, Muscari neglecta, Lotus goebelia, Astragalus strictifolius, Serratula serratuloides, Tomanthea aucheri, Malus oreientalis, Prunus divaricata, Sorbus graeca, S. persica, S. aucuparia, Crataegus orientalis, C. lacimiata.

Mountain Steppe flora includes Gladiolus atroviolaceus, Nigella oxypetala, Actynolema macrolema, Gundelia tournefort, Verbascum saccatum, Lallemanita iberica, Roemeria retracta, Scabiosa argentea, Scorronera paposa, Muscari beglecta, Stchys inflata, Astragalus distyophysus, A. kochianus, Achillea tenuifolia, Helichrysum rubicundum, Silena spergulifolia.

Gegharkuni - Sevan
Sevan Shore
flora include Prangos ferulacea, Eremurus spectabilis, Tulipa julia, Iris paradoxa, iris caucasica, Scutellaxia orientalis, Crambe orientalis, Cleome ornithovodioides, Gypsophila elegans, Senecio vernalis, Silene chlorantha, Reichardia dichotoma, Srophularia olgae, S. armeniaca, S. grossheimii, Artemisia absinthium, Spiraea crenata.

Sevan Pass and mountain flora include Iris furcata, Anemone fasciculata, A. raminculoides, Primula ruprechtii, P. macrocalyx, Trollius patulus, Caltha polypetala, Veratium lobelianum, Palsatilla armena, Corydalis persica, Fritillaria caucasica, Betonica grandiflora, Prunus spinosa, Sedum  pilosum, Sempervivum transcaucasicum, Malus orientalis, Pyrus caucasicus.

ARARAT VALLEY

Armavir and Ararat
Flora in Ararat Valley includes Gladiolus atroviolaceus, Nigella oxypetala, Actynolema macrolema, Gundelia tournefort, Verbascum saccatum, Lallemanita iberica, Roemeria retracta, Scabiosa argentea, Scorronera paposa, Muscari beglecta, Stchys inflata, Astragalus distyophysus, A. kochianus, Achillea tenuifolia, Helichrysum rubicundum, Silena spergulifolia.

SOUTH

Vayots Dzor
River Gorge flora
include Alkanna orientalis, Cerasus incana, Prus, salicifolia, Cerasus mahaleb, Amygdalus ferzlinia, Spirala crenata, Saxifraga cymbalaria, Linaria armeniaca, Acantholimon bracteatum, Illium akana, Tulipa julia, Corydalis augustifolius, Orni-thogalum mountanum, O. gussonei, Campanula choziatorskyi, Bellevalia longystila, Muscari neglecta, Lotus goebelia, Astragalus strictifolius, Serratula serratuloides, Tomanthea aucheri, Malus oreientalis, Prunus divaricata, Sorbus graeca, S. persica, S. aucuparia, Crataegus orientalis, C. lacimiata.

Other flora include Iris lineolata, I. Caucasia, Merendera mirzoeval, Colchicum szovitsii, Gagea ssp., Puschninia scilloides, Draba ssp., Lallemantia caneseens, Ranunculur ssp., Myosotis alpestris, Pedicularis ssp., Trifolium ssp., Gladiolus kotschyanus, Silene ssp.

Noravank Canyon includes Clematis orientalis, C. vitalba, Reichardia dichotoma, Vitis sylvestris, Pistacia mutica, Noaea minuta, Mixauxsia laevigata, Leus orientalis, Serratula serratuloides, Yurinea arachnoidea, Y. pulchella, Silene megeri.

Siunik
Sissian and Goris
flora include Iris lineolata, I. Caucasica, Merendera mirzoeval, Colchicum Szoritsii, Gagea ssp., Puschkinia scilloides, Draba ssp., Lallemautia caneseeus, Ranunculus ssp., Myosotis alpestris, Pedicularis ssp., Trifolium ssp., Gladiolus kotschyanus, Silene ssp.

Kapan and Meghri Mountain Flora include Tulipa florensvyi, T. confusa: f. pink, f. red, f. yellow, Iris grossheimii, I. Paradoxa, I. Caucasica, I. Pseudocaucasica, I. Atropatana, Mesendera candissima, Colchicum zangezurum, Hyacintella atropatana, Fritillaria kurdica, F. armena, Orchis simma, O. schelvcornikovii, O. stvenii, O. coriphora, Steveniella satyroides, Cephalanthera epipactoides, Epipactis latifolia, Acantholimon fedorovii, Reseda globulosa, Cercis griffithii, Gladiolus szovitsii, G. atroviolaceus, G. italicus, Punica granatum (wild), Tournefortia siberia, Calendula persica.

Northern Meghri and Kapan flora include Iris imbricata, Tulipa sosnovskyi, Fritillaria pinardii, F. armenia, Colchicum ninae, C. Szovitsii, Merendera raddeana, Crocus asamii, Corydalis persica, Ornithogalum sigmoideum, O. transcaucasicum, Genista transcaucasica, Mespilus germanica, Scilla mistscheukoana.

Kapan and Vorotan flora include Iris lineolata, I. Paradoxa, I. Caucasica, Allium stamineum, Bellevalia paradoxa, B. longystila, Muscari atropatana, M. sosnovskyi, Tulipa Sosnovskyi, Punica granatum, Vinca Vitis sylvestris, Ficus carica (wild).

Another treat from the flora kingdom in Siunik are the giant mountain mushrooms that appear in the spring and early summer.  Huge white specimins are sold by the roadside near Sissian.  They are wonderful treats, with a slightly nutty taste.  Excellent cooking!




LINKS

Images (photos by Tigran Nazarian)
Armenian Botanical Society

EcoCenter
Large Flowered Poppies
Ecotourism.com (currently down, but try in case)
Armenian Flora/Fauna Stamps
Article on Armenia's Flora (Russian)

Climate Change Info Center-Armenia
Dept. of Envirnomental Science (courses)
Armenia Tree Project
Dictionary of Botanical Epithets

INDIVIDUAL REPORTS
Threatened Species in Armenia
State of Environment Report 2000 (UN)


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