This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) includes most of the Caucasus Mountains except the western parts, which forms part of the Euxine-Colchic BioProvince. Also excluded are the arid southwestern and southern parts. In the north it extends to include the premontane parts of the Kuban Lowlands, the Stauropol Hills, Tersko-Sunzhenskian Hills, all Dagestan and central Transcaucasia. These mountains are actually composed of two separate ranges - the Greater Caucasus in the north and the largely volcanic Lesser Caucasus in the south. They formed around 28 to 23 million years ago as the result of a tectonic collision between the Arabian plate and the Eurasian plate. Their geological age varies but includes Palaeozoic, Jurassic and Cretaceous beds. Climatically there are both vertical and horizontal variations. The northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus are typically 3°C colder than the southern slopes while the southern slopes have higher amounts of precipitation. Snowfall can be heavy but as the Lesser Caucasus is less influenced by moist air from the Black Sea it receives considerably less precipitation (in the form of snow). The flora comprises a number of endemic genera including Agasyllis (Apiaceae), Albobiodoxa (Asteraceae), Charesia (Caryophyllaceae), Chymsydia (Apiaceae) Cladochaeta (Asteraceae), Gadellia (Campanulaceae), Grossheimia (Asteraceae), Kemulariella (Asteraceae), Mandenovia (Apiaceae), Paederotella (Scrophulariaceae), Petrocoma (Caryophyllaceae), Pseudobetckea (Valerianaceae), Pseudovesicaria (Brassicaceae), Sredinskya (Primulaceae), Symphyoloma (Apiaceae) and Trigonacaryum (Boraginaceae) and many endemic species especially associated with the high mountains of the Greater Caucasus.
The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.
|Endemic Vascular Plant Flora|