This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) comprises the Novorossian Province (Krasnodar Region) and the Crimea of southern Ukraine. The former is situated in the northwestern Caucasus and consists of a series of parallel mountain ranges up to 500 m high, while the Crimea is basically a large peninsula of some 27,000 square kilometers extending into the Black Sea and connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land at Perekop. The geology is complex but volcanic rocks of Jurassic origin are widespread in Southern Crimea, and locally there are karistic features known as yajla. For example, there are yajla slopes composed of Jurassic limestone facing parts of the Black Sea. Among the major geographical features of the Crimea is the Kerch Peninsula, which includes the Arabat Spit, a sand bar some 110 km long extending northeast and separating the marshy Sivash Sea from the Sea of Azov. Dry steppe covers more than two-thirds of the peninsula. In the south, the Crimean Mountains rise to about 1500 m before dropping down sharply into the Black Sea. The climate is fairly unique and can be described as sub-Mediterranean and mildly continental with hot dry summers and mild warm, humid winters. The Mountain barrier shields the coast from north winds and gives the coastal zone an almost subtropical feel. The flora is extremely rich comprising more than 2700 vascular plants and representing about 60% of the Ukrainian flora but many are rare requiring protection. Over 300 species are considered endemic including Acer stevenii (Sapindaceae), Onobrychis pallasii (Fabaceae), Crataegus pojarcoviae (Rosaceae), Rumia crithmifolia (Apiaceae) and the famous Crimean "edelweiss" Cerastium biebersteinii (Caryophyllaceae). The area is also famous as a refuge for species from different geologic epochs, with preglacial relicts numbering more than a half of the flora. These include, for example, Arbutus andrachne, Comperia comperana and Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana (Crimean pine). In addition there are a number of glacial relicts like Betula pendula, Caltha palustris and Pyrola rotundifolia but in general the flora can be described as a mixture of Mediterranean, Middle Asian and European elements.
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|