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Botanical trips

“Bulgaria’s flora is extremely diverse due to the three types of climate (Continental, Sub-Mediterranean and Steppe) within its borders. There are about 3500 species of vascular plants, of which 31 are endangered. Of the 6500 types of non-vascular, about 250 are endemic and many have indigenous names such as Rhodopi tulip and Bulgarian black-berry. In addition to that there are 2650 plants with medicinal uses and over 200 types of fungi are edible. Surprisingly enough Bulgaria occupies the prestigious third place for herb export in the world. Another less known fact is that until recently, the country was giving 70% of the world’s supply of rose oil. Roses are still grown in the Valley of Roses extensively and can be enjoyed most of the year.

Bulgaria is also justifiably being proud of the fact that 35% of our country is covered with forests, of which 60% are original. Forests are also protected in the national parks and reserves. These are conifers (Corsican, Scots, Macedonian and white pine), fir(ела), spruce(смърч) and juniper(хвойна)) predominating in the high mountains of the Pirin, Rila and western Rhodopies, and deciduous(широколистни) trees (oak(дъб), beech(бук), hornbeam(габър), elm(бряст), ash(ясен), hazel(лешник) and lime(липа)) in the Stara Planina and Sredna Gora and Strandzha. The Rila, Pirin and Rhodopies are especially rich in wildflowers, herbs and fungi, including some species that became extinct elsewhere in Europe centuries ago and others that are unique to Bulgaria, such as Astragalus physocalyx, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Haberlea rhodopensis, Prunus laurocerasus, Ramondia sorbica, Rheum rhaponticum and Rhododendron ponticum.”

The Rough Guide