Central Rodopi Mts

Central Rodopi Mts

The area is situated in central Southern Bulgaria, on the border with Greece, surrounded by the high Western Rodopi, the low Eastern Rodopi, and the Thracian Plain in the north. The mountain encompasses large calcareous areas with rich flora and vegetation. The climate varies from such with significant Mediterranean influence in the lower parts to typically montane in the highest parts. The vegetation is extremely diverse. In the lower parts there are mixed thermophilous woodlands and scrub, remnants of former deciduous oak forests. In the higher parts extensive forests are developed of European spruce (Picea abies), Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Black pine (Pinus nigra). The grassland vegetation is especially present in the higher parts, in the form of colourful mountain meadows. Along some of the rivers in the lower warmest parts, riparian forests of Eastern Sycamore tree (Platanus orientalis) may be seen. Especially rich in plants are the calcareous cliffs and rocks, extensively present in the area. Due to the high plant diversity, parts of the mountain are designated as Important Plant Areas.

© Boris Assyov

© Boris Assyov

The area is rich of Bulgarian and local endemics, e. g. Arenaria rhodopaea, Campanula jordanovii, Carduus thracicus, Chondrilla urumoffii, Marrubium frivaldskyanum, Medicago rhodopea, Onosma malkalmayorum, Parietaria rhodopaea, Rhamnus rhodopeus, Scrophularia bulgarica, Secale rhodopaeum, Sedum kostovii, Seseli rhodopaeum, Soldanella rhodopaea, Tulipa rhodopea, Verbascum decorum, and V. nobile.

A number of Balkan endemic plants are also seen here, namely Abies borisi-regis, Achillea ageratifolia, A. clypeolata, A. depressa, Alkanna stribrnyi, Angelica pancicii, Aquilegia nigricans, Armeria rumelica, Astragalus gladiatus, Asyneuma anthericoides, Campanula lanata, Carum graecum, Centaurea visianii, Cerastium decalvans, Chamaecytisus absinthioides, Cirsium appendiculatum, Crocus veluchensis, Dianthus cruentus, Digitalis viridiflora, Galium rhodopeum, Genista rumelica, Haberlea rhodopensis, Heracleum verticillatum, Inula aschersoniana, Lathraea rhodopea, Lilium rhodopaeum, Onosma rhodopea, Pastinaca hirsuta, Petkovia orphanidea, Polygala rhodopea, Saxifraga ferdinandi-coburgi, S. sempervivum, S. stribrnyi, Scabiosa rhodopensis, S. triniifolia, Scrophularia aestivalis, Sesleria latifolia, Sideritis scardica, Silene fabarioides, S. gigantea, Trachelium rumelianum, Tragopogon balcanicum, Verbascum humile, Viola ganiatsasii, and V. grisebachiana.

A number of orchids are found in the area, namely Cephalanthera damasonium, C. longifolia, C. rubra, Coeloglossum viride, Corallorhiza trifida, Dactylorhiza baumanniana, D. cordigera, D. incarnata, D. kalopisii, D. saccifera, D. sambucina, Epipactis exilis, E. microphylla, E. pontica, E. purpurata, Epipogium aphyllum, Goodyera repens, Gymnadenia conopsea, Hammarbya paludosa, Himantoglossum caprinum, Listera cordata, L. ovata, Neottia nidus-avis, Ophrys cornuta, Orchis coriophora, O. elegans, O. morio, O. pinetorum, O. purpurea, O. simia, O. spitzelii, O. tridentata, O. ustulata, Platanthera bifolia, P. chlorantha, etc .

Further rare or protected species are Alyssum stribrnyi, Carex limosa, Cortusa mathioli, Juniperus excelsa, Lathyrus filiformis, Malcolmia orsiniana, Menyanthes trifoliata, Morina persica, Ophrys insectifera, Petasites kablickianus, and Ranunculus fontanus.

Other species of interest are Achillea grandifolia, Acinos alpinus, Aethionema saxatile, Ajuga chamaepytis, A. laxmanii, Alyssoides utriculata, Amelanchier ovalis, Anthemis tinctoria, Anthericum liliago, Anthyllis montana, A. vulneraria, Asperula purpurea, Asphodeline liburnica, A. taurica, Asplenium viride, Astragalus angustifolius, A. glycyphylloides, A. monspessulanus, Aurinia saxatilis, Bruckenthalia spiculifolia, Caltha laeta, Campanula glomerata, C. lingulata, C. persicifolia, Carduus thoermeri, Carlina acanthifolia, Centaurea salonitana, C. triumfetti, Ceterach officinarum, Convolvulus cantabrica, Cotoneaster integerrimus, Daphne mezereum, D. oleoides, Dianthus petraeus, Digitalis lanata, Epilobium dodonaei, Eriophorum angustifolium, E. latifolium, E. vaginatum, Euphorbia barrelieri, E. myrsinites, Filipendula ulmaria, Frangula rupestris, Fraxinus ornus, Fumana procumbens, Galium flavescens, Genista depressa, Gentiana asclepiadea, G. cruciata, Geranium sanguineum, Geum coccineum, G. rivale, Gladiolus palustris, Globularia aphyllanthes, G. cordifolia, Hypericum cerastoides, H. linarioides, Jasione heldreichii, Jasminum fruticans, Lamium garganicum, Laserpitium siler, Linum capitatum, Lysimachia nummularia, Melica ciliata, Micromeria cristata, M. dalmatica, Moneses uniflora, Picnomon acarna, Primula elatior, Pulmonaria rubra, Ranunculus serbicus, Rhamnus saxatilis, Rhodax alpestris, R. canus, Salvia sclarea, Saxifraga paniculata, S. rotundifolia, Scabiosa rotata, Selaginella helvetica, Seseli rigidum, Silene bupleuroides, Syringa vulgaris, Tanacetum macrophyllum, Telekia speciosa, Thesium linophyllon, Trifolium alpestre, T. montanum, T. pannonicum, Trinia glauca, Valeriana montana, Verbascum orientale, V. phoeniceum, V. rorripifolium, V. xanthophoeniceum, Vicia onobrychioides, and Viscaria vulgaris.