Bulgaria’s diverse nature defines the vast wealth of plant and animal species that inhabit the relatively small territory of the country. In Bulgaria there are over 3500 species of plants, most of them can not be seen anywhere else in the world.
Unique plants of Bulgaria
Plant and animal species that occur only in a given region or country are called endemics. The endemics registered so far in Bulgaria are about 170 species and up to 100 subspecies. This abundance of endemics is explained by a number of factors, the most important of which are the geographical location of the country (where plant species characteristic of Central Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean are added to the local flora), climate diversity and the particular geological history of the Balkans. For example, the glaciation of the peninsula during the Ice Age was much weaker and milder than in other parts of Europe. It is because of this “soft” geological past that many plants have survived here that have not survived elsewhere. In this sense, these endemics are unique in that they are relics, remnants of long-gone eras.
• Urum tulip – When you hear the word tulip, surely your first association is … Netherland. In fact, they began to grow tulips there in the 16th century. Unlike the Netherlands, as many as 7 species of wild growing tulips are found in Bulgaria. Urum tulip, for example, is a rare, wild and very beautiful yellow tulip that grows mainly in the Eastern Balkan Mountains and the mountainous parts of Western Bulgaria.
• Pirin Papaver – The Pirin Papaver , sometimes called a Degan Papaver , grows only at an altitude of over 2000 meters in the Pirin Mountains.
• Pinguicula balcanica – a predatory plant of the Mehurkovi family that grows only on the Balkan Peninsula. The leaves are covered with glandular hairs and when a small insect or spider falls on them, the hairs begin to secrete mucus which retains and stifles the prey. The digestive juices are then separated and finally the nutrients from the “ground” insect are sucked in by the leaf glands.
• Lilium rhodopaeum – its only locality is located on the territory of the village of Sivino in the Rhodopes. Its slender stem is lined with large yellows.
• Morina – This beautiful Bulgarian rock plant is found in Bachkovo and Trigrad.
• Rhododendron ponticum – Strandzha Rhododendron ponticum is from the Blueberry family and its beautiful colors can be seen in early May.