Silivriak (Haberlea rhodopensis)    |    The Splendid Tulip (Tulipa splendens)

Tekirska mishorka (Gypsophila tekirae)

Plant and animal species that occur only in a particular locality, region or country, are called endemic. Despite its small territory of merely 111 thousand square kilometres, Bulgaria is extremely rich in endemic plants, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The endemic seminal vegetables (i.e., algae, mosses, lichens, ferns and horse-tails excluded) that have been registered so far, run to about 170 species and 100 subspecies. By way of comparison, the total number of seminal plant species found in Bulgaria is approximately 3500-3700. Two of the Bulgarian endemic plants are considered to be irretrievably lost; and the preservation of the rest of this vegetable wealth - in conformity with international agreements - is a responsibility of the Bulgarian state.

Furthermore, about 200 Balkan endemic species have been identified in Bulgaria; many of them are found chiefly in this country, or have been located for the first time here. Therefore, a considerable number of these plants have designations including the definition of "Bulgarian", or bear the names of Bulgarian scientists, mountains, etc.

The abundance of endemic species in Bulgaria is due to a number of factors, and the most important among them are: Bulgaria's geographical position (the local vegetation here has been enlarged by some species characteristic of Central Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean), the varying climate, and the peculiar geological history of the Balkans. Thus, for example, the icing of the Peninsula during the Glacial Epoch was much more scarce than in the other parts of Europe. Because of this particularly "mild" geological past, a number of plants, which have died out elsewhere, have survived in this region. In this sense, the endemic species are unique also as relicts, as vestiges of far-off ages.


Consultant on the Bulgarians' Land section has been Mr. Petar Beron, Director of the National Museum of Natural History

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