More than 100 species of plants on 1 square kilometer. Armenia is considered one of the world leaders with this index. This diversity is due to the fact that Armenia is in three climatic zones at once i.e. continental, moderate and subtropical. Due to natural-climatic conditions, mountainous nature of the area, geographical position and the characteristics of the natural environment Armenia’s flora has acquired extraordinary rich and motley composition of species with more than 3500 plants, in addition, 3200 of 6000 plant species that exist in Caucasus one can meet in Armenia. 115 of 3500 are endemic. Water-plants, mosses and lichens also do not inferior by the number of their species, but they are not fully identified and explored yet.
The low-lying places of Armenia are covered with vegetation of desert and semi-desert zones. They are adapted to dry conditions and, due to developed roots, they soak up water from deep in the soil. The population used a bulk of plant species of desert and semi-desert zones as food and medicine a long time ago. Ararat Valley’s semi-desert zones are distributed on 1000-1500 metres altitude. Steppe zone is the most prevailing in Armenia and spreads on 1400-2600 meters height. Cereals are typical to the elevated parts of this zone.
Vegetation of sub-alpine and alpine zones extend above 2200 meters absolute altitude. These zones are more eminent on the mountain shields of Aragats and Geghama. These meadows are distinguished with a diversity of vegetation as here you can meet more than 100 different species. They are also called “Alpine rugs” as from afar meadows covered with various flowers make an impression of colourful rugs. This zone is of exceptional importance for cattle-breeding as it serves as pasture. Hiking and classical tours to Armenia will give the chance to be in all these climatic zones.
Over 1500 species from 3500 are endowed with healing traits. Eznik Koghbatsi (4-5th centuries) was the first to leave written evidence about the healing traits of vegetations in Armenian literature, later Mkhitar Heratsi (12th-century Armenian physician) and Amirdovlat of Amasia (15th-century Armenian physician and writer) had already used these plants as medicines. These herbs can be grouped according to the maximum impact on the human body: herbs used in case of cardiovascular and nervous system diseases, gastric and respiratory tracts diseases, remedies for reducing high blood pressure, etc. If by chance you are staying with an Armenian family while visiting Armenia then surely you will be treated by tea with herbs.
Forests are of not less importance in Armenia. There are 323 types of trees and bushes that belong to 118 breeds and 54 families from which the main species that form forests are beech, oak, hornbeam and pine. These four types of trees cover 86.6% of the entire forests of Armenia. Totally forests are 11.2% off all the territory of Armenia. Tavush, Lori, Syunik and Kotayk are considered to be the most wooded provinces. There are no forests in the central parts of Armenia because of the arid climate, but artificial plants have been planted. Among them is Khosrov forest that has turned into State Reserve. Overall there are 4 national parks, 3 state reserves, 26 preserves and 5 botanical gardens in Armenia.
This small country is not an exception and has the Red Book of Plants of the Republic of Armenia published by Institute of Botany in 1989. It includes 387 plant species which makes up 12% of Armenia’s flora. So while taking tours in Armenia and exploring its corners, all of us should be careful not to harm any species.