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Odds and Ends from Kazakhstan


By AndrewR


In this blog, I will show some of the strange plants I saw on my holiday in Kazakhstan (the odds) and some of the endangered ones (the ends).

Pedicularis juliensis is semi-parasitic, latching on to the roots of grass for its nutrients

The foliage of prangos pabularia looks soft and inviting, but contact with it causes skin rashes or even worse reactions. This may explain why it is not for sale in Britain

Crocos alatavicus has dark markings on the back of the petals but this was an albino clump

The foliage of the Juno irises are only held in one plane; this one is iris tubergeniana

There were about a dozen different species of astragalus. Most of them had yellow, pea-type flowers but our plant expert knew how to tell them apart. This one is astragalus sieversianus

Moving on to the rarities, euonymus koopmannii is an endemic shrub with olive-green foliage; we also saw seedpods on one bush

Nearby was the foliage of another rarity, aconitum tulasicum

A large side of one hill carried many plants of iridodyctium kolpakowskianum in flower but this is another plant at risk, presumably from over-collection

All these last three are listed in the Red Book, an international publication of plants endangered in the wild. Tempting as it was to collect seeds from the euonymus, we left them on the bush. If a plant is endangered, it must be better to let it take its chance in its home unless you can be sure of making it happy somewhere else.

More blog posts by AndrewR

Previous post: Other Bulbs from Kazakhstan

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Did you see much home flower gardening over there Andrew.

7 Nov, 2008


Your plant expert must be SOOOO knowledgeable! It makes me feel totally humble. Thanks for this latest instalment. More to come??

7 Nov, 2008


I found this extremely interesting and educational, Andrew..thanks for sharing it

7 Nov, 2008


Very interesting blog, enjoyed it lots.

7 Nov, 2008


Ams - there were more vegetable gardens than flower gardens. Remember this was part of the Soviet Union until 1991 and things are still pretty tough, especially outside the main cities

Spritz - our plant expert used to work (until she retired) on one of the Nature Reserves (euqivalent to our National Parks). I think she probably trained as a botanist as well. Also the Soviet Union encouraged experts to be REALLY expert in their subject so there is a huge amount of expertise, especailly in the older generations.
There will be one more blog, hopefully some time next week

7 Nov, 2008


Good! They are fascinating. Was your expert 'one of the older generation'?

7 Nov, 2008


Yes, she was in her sixties. Still very agile though (especially in mountain goat mode)

7 Nov, 2008


More interesting plants. The leaves of the Prangos reminded me of fennel leaves. You must have had a wonderful time there.

7 Nov, 2008


Yes I did Hywel. It only rained one day as well but the weather was very changeable - one morning I had six layers of clothes on and was still cold; the next day I was in a T-shirt!

7 Nov, 2008

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