Nature park Vrachanski Balkan: Flora

More than 700 vascular plant species are established on the territory of the Vrachanski Balkan natural park. They represent 1/5 of the Bulgarian flora and are classified in 37 formations and 124 associations and groups of associations including 78 tree and shrub and 36 herbaceous species.

There is vertical zoning of the tree vegetation finds expression in two belts: an oak belt up to 700 m a.s.l. and a beech belt at altitude range from 700 m a.s.l. to 1000 m a.s.l.

The typical geological and morphological structure of the Vrachanska Mountains – the presence of large areas covered with sheer calcareous and silicate rocks and screes determines the relatively wide distribution of chasmophitic plant associations, the so-called Mediterranean islands. As a rule, this vegetation is xerophitic, heliophilic and is adapted to the conditions of calcareous rock areas. The restricted distribution of the communities of Pinus nigra, their adaptability to limestone and carbonate soils as well as the remoteness of their habitats from the main species` areal prove that the formation of Pinus nigra in this region is of relict character, which heightens the scientific interest for it. Achillea compaeta, Dactylis glomerata, Bromus ramosus, Acynus suaveolens etc. are herbaceous species found within the park. Festuca cyllenica is the most widely distributed one.

Many of the communities in the mountain are rare. The ecosystems of Acer monspessulanum, Fagus silvatica, Juglans regia, Pinus nigra, Centrantus kellereri and Acer hyrcanum, Tilia tomentosa etc. are of special phytocoenological interest.

The formations of some vascular plants included in the Red Data book of Bulgaria are of special interest: Centrantus kellereri, Juniperus Sabina, Silene alpina.

Only one habitat of Centrantus kellereri is known to date on the territory of the Vrachanska Mountains. It is the second of this type on the territory of the country.

On the basis of this habitat the only association of the formation (Centrantetha kellereri) is described on the territory of the mountain. The species is a Bulgarian relict and endemic.

Juniperus Sabina is included in the Red Data book and is found in the Vrachanska Mountains, Central Balkan and Rila Mountains only.

The preservation of its genetic fund is an actual problem because of the geographical isolation of the particular species` populations.

The preglacial relict Daphne Laureola (rare for Bulgaria), Daphne oleoides and Daphne cneorum is distributed in Vrachanska Mountains and Central Rhodopes only. Specialists` efforts are directed to the protection of rare and endangered plant species. Some of them are: Galanthus nivalis, Genista pilosa, Limodorum abortivum, Orchis papilionaceae, Anemone sylvestris, Trolius europaeus, Ruta graveolens, Saxifraga marginata.

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