Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Renowned botanist discovers species new to Armenia in nature reserve

27 September, 2011 - 14:41 -- World Land Trust

For those with botanical aspirations, May and June are the best months to visit the World Land Trust (WLT) supported nature reserve in Armenia

Delphinum quercetorum

Delphinum quercetorum in a flower meadow within the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge Photo © FPWC

Renowned botanist, Dr Eleonora Gabrielyan, recently discovered hidden treasures in the mountainous landscape of the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in Armenia.

She explored the area with a team from World Land Trust (WLT) partner organisation, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), who manage the reserve.

Barbara Siebert, from FPWC, said:

“The meadows were dotted with colour:  yellow, white, blue, and red flowers, making it the ideal time to explore the botanical richness of the area.”

Eleonora is a doctor of Biological Sciences, a professor, and an outstanding taxonomic botanist. As an advisor to FPWC on all botanical issues, she offers them much valued expert assistance.

It was Eleonora’s first visit to the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge, but certainly not the last, and the FPWC team enjoyed showing her the reserve’s slopes and mountain meadows of Mount Dagnac. Barbara said:

“The abundance of flowers was overwhelming. Among them were many very rare endemic species including a spectacular, large-flowered iris (Iris elgantissima) and even some that Dr Gabrielyan classified as new in Armenia, or the area.”

Iris elgantissima

Iris elgantissima, one of the rare species found during the survey. Photo © Manuk Manukyan.

Barbara added:

“Already this short exploration proved the unique botanical value of FPWC’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge – a value which needs to be preserved for future generations.”

FPWC are working on an extensive survey of the flora in the reserve; they have been systematically photographing plants to get a detailed list of species in the area.

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