Our Beautiful World


Flora on Kamchatka

Flowers and grasses of Kamchatka
 Courtesy: http://www.kamchatka.org.ru 

3. Flora on Kamchatka

About one thousand species of vascular plants inhabit the oblast of Kamchatka.
We are not going to describe all of them here......
But as the forest are a dominating part of the flora of Kamchatka, they have got
their own page. Click here to learn about the Forests in Kamchatka..

Alpine flowers
Courtesy: http://www.kamchatkapeninsula.com/

Communities in the vicinity of mineral hotsprings and fumaroles host forty rare and
endangered species, four of which are endemic to Kamchatka.

Alpine tundra
Courtesy: http://www.kamchatkapeninsula.com/

Bytrinsky Nature Park (forest).
Initial studies of the territory's vascular plants illustrate its distinction: A wide variety of arctic
alpine species inhabit the high plateaus and terraces, and relict cryophilic and steppe species
are found in insular populations among the jagged cliffs. The park forms the southern extent
of many species'geographical distribution. Fifteen are found nowhere else in the oblast.
Alpine tundra (shrub species and lichens) dominates the mountain peaks.

Commander Islands

Pink lady's slipper (Cypripedium macranthon)
© Botanische Spezialitäten Erich Maier
Approximately 480 vascular plant species inhabit the archipelago, with a low degree of edemism.
Thirty-five of these species have been introduced. Maritime quillwort (Isoetes maritima) and pink lady's
slipper (Cypripedium macranthon)(see picture above),are rare. Mountain tundra covers most
of the islands. Some grasslands also occur, but trees or shrubs are sparse.

The islands are, however, rich with a variety of species found nowhere else in Russia.

Aconiutum maximum var. misaoanum - Aconitum fisheri
© Shiretoko.muratasystem.or.jp - © branka59.homestead.com

The 'maximum' plant are produced on the meadows of Kamchatka, and can be up
to 1,5 m high. The 'fisheri' flower is endemic to Kamchatka, and can reach 2 m.

European baneberry Rød trollbær (actaea-erythrocarpa)
Stay away! Two or more berries in your mouth, and you'd better call the doctor immideately!
Photo copyright Henriette Kress, http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed

Anaphalis-margaritacea, Pearly everlasting, pearl-flowered life everlasting, western pearly everlasting.
Immerschön, Katzenpfötchen
Photo copyright Henriette Kress, http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed

Angelica ursina, a real giant herb, up to 3,5m high! Remarkable representative for famous tall forbs of
Kamchatka. In winter-time with snow on their umbels these giants look as exotic trees from a fairy tale.

Photo:Flowering Plants of Hokkaido and http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~yf8o-nbt/ (not valid as per Sept 2010)

Up to 30-40cm high, with small white flowers and renifor rosette leaves.
It has become famous as in 1741 Georg Steller used it as antiscorbutic remedy during the dramatic
period of his Second Kamchatka Expedition to Bering Island.
Photo © Carl Farmer, May 2002 Portree, from www.plant-identification.co.uk/skye/

Yellow Spotted Lady's-slipper, Cypripedium yatabeanum
A terrestrial orchid of open woods and slopes sparcely covered with shrubs. Cultivation is difficult,
but that doesn't mean it is impossible, as you will see in the garden of Erich Maier, Germany.

From: "Wildflowers of Siberia and Russian Far East - Seed List 2001" and Botanische Spezialitäten Erich Maier

Daphne kamtschatica. One of the treasures of Kamchatka. A small shrup with thick yellow-brown
branches. The ssp jezoensis in the middle, is twice as big. Flowers yellow, on very short pedicels.
The fruit is bright red. Due to wet summer the harvest is very poor. To be found mostly in the birch forests.
photos from left to right: © TOMAKOMAI CITY,
ssp. jezoensis © www.plantsindex.com and © Hokkaido Forest Research Institute

Arctic Daisy Dendranthema arcticum (= Chrysanthemum arcticum) is an ornament of Kamchatka sea shore
rocks. The white heads about 8 cm across with yellow centre on the background of fleshy pinnatifid
leaves greet sea tides the whole summer.
© Armin Jagel, Botanischer Garten, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Nagy's Picture Guide of Flora

Meadowsweet, Filipendula kamtschatica, is another representative of famous Kamchatka tall forbs,
1-2 (3-4?) m high. The flowers are small, white or slightly pink in large meadows.

© heartbeat.k-server.org and © http://fukus.cside1.jp/

As soon as the snow goes away, round the rivers, in the ravines, at the foot of the mountains
the shelamannik, english: Meadowsweet, Filipendula kamtschatica, a huge grassy plant that makes
"the guard" of Kamchatka's tall grasses along with krestovnik and puchka, grows up thickly.

Meadowsweet, Filipendula kamtschatica

The stems three meters high hide a rider easily. Inside the thickets the plants make you step by touch:
no direction seen, the sun and skies are hidden by the broad leaves, and willy-nilly you are pleased
with bears' paths cleaving the wall of stems like tunnels. Shelamannik is a friendly plant: leaves are soft,
stems are easy to be moved apart with hands or a stick. The shelamannik's young sprouts are edible,
meanwhile for bears they are a rescue against hunger in the early summer when there are neither
berries nor fish or cedar nuts yet.

Puchka (Heracleum dulce) is an insidious plant. Its juice has a sweet taste, but leaves blisters and sores
on the skin that ache for months! The ancient inhabitants of Kamchatka, ltelmens, extracted a sort of
sugar using puchka, and Cossacks distilled wine that produced a strange effect: after two or three glasses
a person saw wonderful dreams, but in the morning felt so miserable as if he had committed a crime.
© www.globetown.net/~myanmyan

Hypericum kamtschaticum, on the meadows and in the stone birch forests of Kamchatka.
photos: © Kazuo Yamasaki and © www.teikyo-u.ed.jp/bio/AlpineFlowers/
(not valid as per Sept 2010)

Lagotis glauca. In Russia people call it vanilla grass due to the pleasant smell of small blue flowers in spike-form. Grows on wet places on the Kamchatka tundra.
© www.geopacifica.org and © 1997-2003 Osamu Aoki, Gallery 3

Saxifraga cherlerioides. Grows mainly by the sea, and if you ever visit Petropavlovsk,
you can see vertical rocks near the sea occupied by this saxifrage.
photos: home.p04.itscom.net/noko/hana/siko.html

Senecio cannabifolius,
One of Kamchatka's tall forbs, 1-2 m high, with yellow flowers.
photos: © Kazuo Yamasaki and yamagata-u.ac.jp/mogamigawa

Vaccinium vitis-idaea, a low bush cranberry.
Everybody in Kamchatka pick up baskets of berries from this generous plant.
photos: © Kazuo Yamasaki and © www.vulkaner.no

more text to follow

 0. Main menu
 1. Preface
 2. Where on Earth is Kamchatka?
 3. Animals - Wildlife
 4. Birds - Birding
 6. Sealife
 7. Valley of Geysers
 8. The Volcanoes of Kamchatka
 9. The Forests in Kamchatka
10. The Indigenous People of Kamchatka
11. Vitus Bering, explorer
12. Georg Steller, naturalist
13. Siberia

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