The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Kazakhstan Revisited (3) - Alpines


By AndrewR


I’ve already given you a taster of some of the alpines we saw on the trip, but in this blog I’m going to concentrate on some of the more choice ones we saw.

Chorispora bugeana grew high in the mountains near Almaty. It is capable of withstanding very low temperatures, and appears to have a unique mechanism to do this which scientists are investigating.

Sedum hybridum is a tough little drought tolerant plant. Several named cultivars are in cultivation

Androsaces are very choice alpines, but often difficult to grow outside of their native habitat. We found this one, androsace sericea, growing on rocks close to the snow line on the Tien Shan Mountains

Nearby was primula minkwitziae

It was on the penultimate day of the holiday that we climbed to just over 3000 metres. Actually we drove most of the way, but had to pass through three security checkpoints (with the right paperwork at the first two, and a bribe to a young soldier at the third). The area we were visiting was only half a mile from a secret lab, used by the Russians during the cold war to develop the hydrogen bomb. Now it is used for investigating outer space, but general visitors are still discouraged.

Oxygraphis glacialis is related to the buttercup, and grows in Canada and Alaska as well as in this area

But oxytropis almaatensis only grows in this area

Lloydia serotina is an interesting plant. It is a relic of the Ice Age, growing in the Alps as well as here. There is also a small population in Snowdonia, but could become extinct in Britain due to climate change

Primula nivalis is known as the snowy primrose, and likes damp, gravel as its growing medium

Here’s two plants for the price of one, saxifraga macrocalyx with yellow flowers, and saxifraga oppositifolia with pink ones, growing together one a rock

The prize plant we had come to see in this area was paraquilegia anemonoides. The flower colour on this varies from very pale to quite a deep blue. We only found this pink colour, but several plants of it

Not so beautiful perhaps, but interesting, was this edelweiss relative, leontopodium fedtschenkoi

Finally for this section, another buttercup relative, paropyrum anemonoides, growing in shady rock crevices

To be continued

More blog posts by AndrewR

Previous post: Kazakhstan Revisited (2) - Familiar Faces

Next post: Kazakhstan Revisited (4) - Other Miscellaneous Plants



lovely photos, great little plants, I have one trough with alpines in, love them,

8 Jul, 2013


Did you take the reference books in your rucksack Andrew?
Absolutely amazing photography.
Thank so much for sharing.
Made me feel very humble.

8 Jul, 2013


Diane - it was a botanising holiday, so the company gave us a checklist of plants we MIGHT see to take with us.
The tour leader was a trained botanist, and we had a session every other evening where he went through the lists, to tell us what we HAD seen.
Then, when I got back, it was a case of putting the list against the photos I'd taken, and trying to match them

8 Jul, 2013


great blog..sounds and looks like a great holiday/excursion..some wonderful plants, if you could only bring one back for your garden which would it be?

8 Jul, 2013


SS - if had to choose one from this blog, it would be the paraquilegia. But my 'must have' plant from the holiday will appear in my seventh, and final, blog

8 Jul, 2013


I had no idea alpines could be so beautiful. Thank you very much fr this blog.

8 Jul, 2013


Really enjoyed this blog, wonderful photos.

19 Jul, 2013


Very Nice I am just catching UP
You have answered some of my questions, my fault going backwards

24 Jul, 2013

Add a comment

Recent posts by AndrewR

Members who like this blog

  • pcw

    Gardening with friends since
    7 Mar, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Sep, 2008

  • bjs

    Gardening with friends since
    13 Apr, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    5 May, 2010