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Kazakhstan Revisited (1) - Trees, Shrubs and Climbers


By AndrewR


Those of you who have been on this site for some time may remember I went to Kazakhstan a few years ago to look at plants growing in the wild there. The area has more endemics than anywhere apart from South Africa, with almost one in ten of the country’s plants growing nowhere else in the wild. So I’ve just been there again, sorted through my photos, and now put together a few blogs to show you what is there.

We started in Almaty, the old capital city. Although home to one and a half million people, the mountains are very close (once you can get through the very heavy traffic), so plant life is within easy reach. Later we took an overnight train to the village of Dzhbagly which is a centre for Nature Reserves.

In this first blog, I’ll cover woody plants and things that climb up them. Let’s start with Sorbus tianschanica, a mountain ash with wonderful red stems

Lonicera tatarica can reach ten feet and flowers earlier in the year, but the berries put on a good display now and are edible

Tamarix ramosissima was growing beside a river in a very arid area. It makes a large arching shrub

While the first two are available in the UK, I don’t think rosa platycantha is. I was very taken with this shrub. It grows to about six feet, and is covered in yellow flowers. There was a good deal of variation in colour, but the best forms put on a terrific display, and even young bushes carried blooms

Malus sieversii, or wild apple, is thought to be the predecessor from which all varieties of apple come

And pyrus regelii could be the forerunner of all pear trees

Lonicera nummulariifolia is another shrubby honeysuckle, reaching ten feet, and proved very popular with pollinating insects

Berberis oblonga is another large shrub. The yellow flowers are followed by edible blue berries

Prunus tanschanica, or Tien Shan cherry, also carries edible fruit later in the year

Finally in this blog, a couple of climbers. Euonymus semenovii only grows to about three feet, and is not hardy. Some would say it’s not spectacular either

But you could not say that of clematis sibirica, a climber growing to fifteen feet into the trees. A named variety, ‘White Moth’ is available from a few nurseries in the UK

To be continued

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Fantastic ! Wonderful look into another part of the world.

2 Jul, 2013


So enjoyed this especially the lonicera. What a wonderful trip!

2 Jul, 2013


Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

3 Jul, 2013


This really brings home how intrepid were the plant collectors of victorian times. Okay, so they didn't have to put up with traffic jams but it must have been a hairy experience on lonely mountainsides and deep into fairly uncharted territory, besides the discomfort of sea journeys, rough terrain and unknown creepy crawlies (this last would deter me lol!)
Andrew thanks so much for sharing your travels. Really fascinating!
Btw how is Maureen's garden faring? Ive missed lots of blogs over the last months..

4 Jul, 2013


Tetrarch - the cercis 'Forest Pansy' was a winter casualty (or drowned last summer?), but everything else is growing well and looking very lush. Maureen sends her regards

4 Jul, 2013


I'm glad she still remembers me..tho maybe cos she guessed I seriously thought about pinching her looong eyelashes lol! (along with the Cardinal de Richelieu, a wonderful peony, the thalictrum and one or three choice heucheras, besides some handsome pots!!)

7 Jul, 2013

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