Russia encompasses an area of 6,592,800 square miles, making it the largest country on earth. In fact, this country is so expansive that it houses three distinct climate regions. These are humid continental, subarctic, and subtropical climate regions. In addition to these climates, several ecoregions can be found within its borders, ranging from temperate forests to grasslands and from tundra to desert. These diverse climates and landscapes provide the perfect habitat for thousands of plant species, some of which are endemic to the country. This article takes a look at some of the endemic plants of Russia.
Endemic Plants of Russia
The Dagestanian Spleenwort belongs to the spleenwort family, which is a type of fern. This particular species is endemic to Dagestan, a Federal Subject of Russia. Within this region, it has only been found between the districts of Agulsky and Khivsky, an area of approximately 546 square miles. It is further confined to altitudes from 5,900 feet to 7,545 feet. Researchers believe there are approximately 1,500 to 2,000 mature plants living. It is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and suffers from the effects of climate change.
Southern Russian Cattail
The Southern Russian Cattail belongs to the Typha genus, and is a flowering plant. It can only be found in the freshwater wetlands of southern Russia. Researchers believe it is a hybrid plant, originating from the Typha latifolia and Typha laxmannii.
Eastern Russian Daisy
The Eastern Russian Daisy is a flowering plant that belongs to the Endocellion genus, and is a type of daisy. This flower, scientifically known as the Endocellion glaciale is the only species in the genus. It is endemic to the areas of Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk, and Magadan.
Another endemic plant to Russia is the Nasczokin’s Lime. It belongs to the Tilia genus, a group of around 30 species of trees found in temperate regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere. This particular species is endemic to the coniferous forests of the Siberian region of the country. It can grow to 65 feet in height. Its trunk is a pale, grey color and its leaves are wide ovals that reaching lengths of up to 6 inches. This tree produces a tiny whitish-yellow flower that converts into a small, green fruit. Despite its name, this fruit is not a lime and has no known instances of cultivation. The Nasczokin’s Lime is considered a threatened species. Efforts to conserve the tree are underway in the Stolby Nature Reserve.
The Gymnostomum Boreale, also known as Hymenostylium gracillimum, is a type of moss that is endemic to Russia. Although endemic, this moss species is relatively common throughout the country and is not considered threatened.
Other endemic plants found in Russia include the Murmansk liverwort, Altai mountain moss, Russian Far East moss, and Siberian carpet plant.
Many of the plants on this list can only be found present in limited areas within Russia. Because of their small habitat ranges, the plants are more susceptible to environmental threats. Their habitats are threatened by global climate change, human alterations, and degradation. Within the country, common human alterations to these plants’ habitats include agriculture, urbanization, mining, and logging. These activities all result in habitat degradation caused by deforestation, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species. These changes are detrimental to endemic species. They have not adapted to other habitats in the world. Once their habitats are destroyed, these plants will be extinct. This extinction will affect other species, both plants and animals, that rely on these plants for survival.