A 14-days holiday exploring southern and eastern Bulgaria in search of rare and endemic plants.

Late spring botany

 

ITINERARY

Day 1     Arrival at Varna airport and transfer to the town of Balchik for two nights stay.

Day 2     Visit to Kaliakra Steppe reserve, Rusalka and Yailata localities with impressive sea cliffs and archeological remains. Steppe vegetation on limestone, rich in flowers.

Species: Paeonia tenuifolia, Paeonia per-egrina, Stipa lessingiana, Artemisia pedemon-tana, Agropyrum brandzae, Asphodeline lutea, Iris pumila, Silene caliacrae, Scutellaria orientalis, Salvia nutans, Salvia argentea, Salvia aethiopis, Bellevalia sarmatica, Onosma taurica, Onosma arenaria, Onosma echioides, Potentilla mollicrins, Potentilla bornmuelleri, Nonnea atra, Ruta graveo-lens, Euphorbia myrsinites, etc., as well as a lot of species of Vicia, Lathyrus, Pisum, Artemisia.

Short visit north of town of Balchik - grassy vegetation on chalk hills.

Species: Matthiola odoratissima, Tanacetum millefolium, Achillea clypeolata, Inula ensifolia, Aster oleifolius, Ajuga laxmanii, Jurinea stoechadifolia, Gypsophylla glomerata, Astragalus spruneri, Astragalus vesicarius, etc.

Day 3     Transfer to the town of Primorsko, where we will stay for the next three nights. Stop in Eastern Balkans mountain near Obzor village - Oak forest with beautiful flowers: Geranium asphodeloides, Verbascum phoeniceum, etc.

Stop at Nature Conservation and Information Centre for general information about the area, plants and if there is an interest - birds watching.

Day 4     Ropotamo river and Arkutino area with sand dune vegetation, alluvial forest - "longoz" vegetation and Arkutino lake with Nimphaea alba.

Species: Tulipa thracica, Fritillaria pontica, Scilla bythinica, Leucojum aestivum, Heptaptera triquetra, Symphytum tauricum, Ruscus aculeatus, Smilax exelsa, Periploca graeca, Iris pseuda-corus, Ammophylla arenaria, Leymus racemosusssp. sabulosus, Silene euxina, Linum tauricum ssp. bulgaricum, Hypecoum ponticum, Pancra-tium maritimum, Jurinea albicaulis ssp. kilaea, Stachys maritima, Medicago marina, Eryngium maritimum, Euphorbia paralias, Iris suaveolens, Anacamptis pyramidalis, Orchis purpurea, etc.

Day 5     Visit to Veleka River mouth and Silistar locality in Strandja Mountain. Oak forests and coastal vegetation.

Species: Verbascum bugulifolium, Verbascum phoeniceum, Salvia forskahlei, Trachystemon orientale, Oenanthe millefolia, Cistus salvifolius, Cistis incanus, Asparagus acutifolius, Serapias vomeracea, Orchis morio, Orchis papilionacea, Scorpiurus subvillosus, Hymenocarpus circinalis, Iris sintenisii, Geranium asphodeloides, Geranium sanguineum, Silene compacta, Juri-nea mollis, Calystegia soldanella, Otanthus maritimus, Crambe maritima, etc.

Day 6     A day trip to Strandja Mountain - Silkosia Nature Reserve and Kachul locality. Oriental beach forest with ever-green scrubs. Overnight in Brachljan village.

Species: Fagus orientalis, Quercus polycarpa, Quercus hartwissiana, Daphne pontica, Rhododendron ponticum, Epimedium pubigerum, Laurocerasus officinalis, Ilex colchica, Mespilus germanica, Pyracantha coccinea, Teucrium lamifolium, Stachys thracica, Orchis laxiflora, Cicer montbretii, Vaccinium arctostaphylos, etc.

Day 7     Visit to Veleka river springs near Mladezhko village. Riverside vegetation, oak and oriental hornbeam forests and open vegetation on limestone rocks. Short stop in Sakar Mountain hills. Transfer to Eastern Rhodopi Mountain - town of Madjarovo, where we overnight next two days.

Some species: Veronica turrilliana, Hesperis theophrasti, Paeonia peregrina, Knautia orientalis, Knautia degenii, Knautia bysantina, Vicia incissa, etc.

Day 8     Volcanic rocky massifs along Arda River, "Patronka" and "Meden kamak" protected areas. Walk along Arda River and visit to "Oreshari" protected area. Secondary mixed deciduous forests on volcanic rocks and limestone. Rocky and grassy vegetation and a lot of Mediterranean species.

Species: Acer monspessulanum, Pistacia terebinthus, Juniperus oxycedrus, Stefanoffia daucoides, Cephalorhinchus tuberosus, Hypericum olympicum, Steptorhamnus tuberosus, Hypericum montbretti, Silene compacta, Ononis adenotricha, Verbascum xanthophoeniceum, Onosma thracica, Inula aschersoniana, Campanula cervicaria, Smyrnium perfoliatum, Polygala rhodopea, etc.

Day 9     Visit to Potochnitca village area and the nearest vulture feeding site. Shrubs and stony pastures with diversity of plants around. Short stop near Studen Kladenets reservoir, in place with basalt rocks. Overnight in the town of Krumovgrad.

Species: Haberlea rhodopensis, Potentilla regis-borisii, Verbascum humile, Scabiosa triniifolia, many Trifolium species, etc.

Day 10     Transfer to Western Rodopi mountain. Stop near Zvezdelina village (limestone pasture with diverse flora) and a stop in the area of Topolnitsa village with a visit to Platanus orientalis forest. Overnight in Mostovo for two nights.

Day 11     Visit to Dobrostan massif area of Martsiganitsa chalet. Mountain meadows on limestone, pastures, juniper scrub, rocky places.

Species: Dactylorhiza kalopisii, Campanula glomerata, Verbascum decorum, Marrubium frivaldskyanum, Jovibarba heufelii, Dianthus cruentus ssp. turcicus, etc.

Day 12     Visit "Sinite Kamani" Nature Park - impressive relief with metamorphic and dolomite rocks and flora, rich in wild flowers.

Species: Quercus frainetto, Quercus pubescens, Quercus cerris, Fraxinus ornus, Carpi-nus orientalis, Syringa vulgaris, Iris reichenbachii, Tulipa australis, Orchis pinetorum, Fritillaria pontica, Alyssum saxatile, Iberis saxatilis, Anthyllis montana, Globularia aphyllanthes, Doronicum hungaricum, Doronicum columnae, Viola sieheana, Dactylorhiza sambucina, Cephalanthera damassonium, Alyssoides utriculosa ssp. graeca, Salvia ringens, Astracantha thracica, Potentilla rupestris, etc.
Depending on the year, it is possible to see Tulipa urumovii in flowers.

Day 13     Transfer to Varna where we accommodate, outside of the city. Stop near the town of Aithos, "Trite bratja" protected area, declared to protect relict Astracantha aitosensis. Second stop at "Pobiti kamani" protected area with astonishing standing stone columns in Eocene sandy disclosures.

Species: Arenaria rigida, Anchusa velenovskyi, Silene frivaldskyana, Anthemis regis-borisii, Syrenia cana, Sempervivum zeleborii, Ephedra dystachya, etc.

Day 14     Transfer to Varna airport and departure.




TOUR MAP



Iris sintenisii

   Iris sintenisii. Photo Emil Enchev.

Tulipa urumoffii

   Tulipa urumoffii. Photo Emil Enchev.

Paeonia tenuifolia

Paeonia tenuifolia. Photo Emil Enchev.

Tullip

   Photo Emil Enchev.

Irises

   Irises by Emil Enchev.