Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership - Armenia
The Republic of Armenia lies on the northern border of the volcanic Armenian Highlands.
Poppies in Armenia (Image: Anush Nersesyan)
Sevan Lake in Armenia (Image : Anush Nersesyan )
Armenia is a mountainous country with elevation ranging from 375 m to 4096 m above sea level (Mt Aragatz) and territory of about 30000 km2. The majority of the territory of the country is above 1000 m altitude. High mountain ridges occur all over the country as a result of intensive folding and powerful volcanism.
Complex relief, sharp contrasts in altitude, remoteness from vast sea areas contribute to a variable climate. Annual rainfall vary from 200 mm in the semi-desert areas to 800 mm in wet parts of the country. The absolute min. temperature is - 37ºC , while the max. is 42 ºC. The country is characterised by a short spring and by a prolonged autumn. The geo-morphological and climatic diversity brings soil variability (semi-desert, mountain steppe, forest, meadow soils, etc.).
Armenia lies at the junction of 2 different floristic provinces: the mesophyllous Caucasian (Circumboreal) region, and arid Armeno-Iranian (Irano-Turanian).
All these elements give rise to different environments that support an extremely rich flora. There are ca. 4000 species of higher plants growing in Armenia (almost half of the whole Caucasian flora). More than 120 species belonging to 56 genera and 26 families are local endemics of Armenia.
There are 12 floristic regions in Armenia. All main vegetation types of the Caucasus except humid subtropical vegetation are represented in Armenia: sandy desert, phryganoids, mountain steppes, forests (including open forests), petrophilous vegetation, wetland vegetation, subalpine meadows, alpine meadows and carpets.
This is remarkable for such a small country. Particularly diverse are xerophytic mountain formations. A large number of useful plants grow on these arid and barren slopes, including highly ornamental species and numerous wild relatives of cereals, legumes, fruit trees, vegetables, aromatic herbs.
Many representatives of the unique Armenian flora need to be protected. More than 450 higher plant species are included in the Red Data Book of Armenia (2010).
In 2011 an MSBP–Institute of Botany of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences joint project started as a contribution to ex situ conservation in Armenia.
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