The Flora of Kamchatka
To see something what is protected by law, and what you will not meet in other place of the Earth even if once, - one can die for it! Just for this purpose crowds of scientists, naturalists together with tourists, who wish to see the nature of Kamchatka, reach for Kamchatka peninsula. . Certainly, to a greater degree they all are interested in the hydrothermal and volcanic activity of the peninsula. However already on the spot it turns out that the flora of Kamchatka deserve the great attention.
The tourists determine the first feature of the local vegetation at once as for this purpose it is unnecessary to sit on the student bench for 5 years: everything unknown is evident itself, namely – giantism of local grasses. Here they grow up to 2-2.5, and even to 4 metres. Kamchatka umbellate plants: bear root, borschevik and others. S.P.Krashenninikov, the Russian scientist who visited Kamchatka in the last century wrote about Kamchatka giantism: “ Grasses in all Kamchatka are so high and juicy without withdrawal, that it is difficult to find similar to them in all Russian empire. At the rivers, lakes and in coppices they can be much higher than the person and grow so quickly, that in one and the same place it is possible to put hay to the last measure three times. It is impossible to find places more suitable for keeping cattle.
The numerous researches, carried out in this area, have shown, that appearance of the gigantic plants in the peninsula should be connected with numerous hot and cold springs of Kamchatka, the waters of which contain much salts and microcells. Probably, therefore other gigantic plants are found in the peninsula . For example, this place is suitable for transplanting different sorts of grain cereals. "Revived" by the tasty water they grow higher. Nevertheless this feature of the peninsula has not made it the new granary of Russia.
Other feature of Kamchatka which can’t be noticed with the naked eye - rather few number of plants (more than 800 kinds) grow here. Endemic plants, that is peculiar only to this territory, are found in the peninsula more often than everywhere else. It numbers more than 100 sorts. Among them - Kamchatka willow Gultena, near relation of so-called goat willow, growing in flood-lands of many Siberian rivers. And also - Fir Graceful the varieties of which - Firs Blond and Sakhalin – are found in Amur area and Sakhalin. In Kamchatka it grows only in one place – on the coast of the Kronotskogo gulf, in the mouth of the river Semyachik, in the area of eight ha! This place enters into the specially protected zone of Kronozky state biospheric reserve.
By the way, scientists call Kamchatka endemism camparatively young as it was opened not long ago. Besides experts note, that distinctions between universal and local kinds of plants are rather insignificant.
Stone or Black Birch or Birch of Erman is considered the main tree of the Kamchatka peninsula. For people which remember appearance of White Birch, habitual to us , Stone Birch will seem to those, who remember the appearance of White Birch, habitual to us, a parody to our Russian beauty: so ugly and plain it is. First, Kamchatka birch has brown trunk with white bark inside. Second, this bark periodically exfoliates by itself, that’s why fluttering downwind it resembles old woman’s hair. The woods, consisting mostly of Kamchatka Birch, stretches in the peninsula along the Kamchatka mountains with the heights 400-600 meters.
And only in the valley of the Kamchatka river the so-called coniferous island, consisting of larches and fir-groves, is located. And it is very strange that White Birch, familiar to all, can be found in this place. However if climbing higher, thrickets of boring “the long-haired old woman” are found again.
Higher low-grassing multi-colour Alpine meadows, and at last, at height of 1200-1500 meters tourists will meet already nothing, except naked stones. And farther - separate files and conic tops, topped with ice caps.
It is necessary to tell about sea seaweeds, strewing the coast of Kamchatka. Brown seaweeds, the varieties of sea kale: kelp, agar, growing in the depth of 10-15 meters and representing the great interest both for cookery, and for medicine presents special value. Besides the rarest kind of seaweeds – red seaweed can be found in the sea depths. It is necessary to sink in the depth of about 60 meters in order to get it To get them. Green seaweeds - so-called sea grass which is quite often used for aquarian design - can be found in the parcels of the sea-bottom near the confluence of rivers.