Included here is northern Greece (including the Pindos Mountains), parts of Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia (including the Karawanken and Julian Alps).

Balkan Alpine Scrub

Above the tree line between 1700 - 2500 m, Juniperus communis var. nana is the most frequent component of high mountain scrub throughout most of the central parts of the Balkan Peninsula. Other species often include Alnus viridis, Daphne oleoides, Genista tinctoria and Pinus mugo. On cooler damper slopes on acid soils, heath-like thickets of ericaceous shrublets predominate including Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Vacccinium myrtillus, V. uliginosum, V. vitis-idaea and the endemic Balkan heath Bruckenthalia spiculifolia (Ericaceae). In fact, the latter species largely takes the places of Calluna vulgaris of north European moors and is somewhat similar in habit, flower colour and habitat. Rhododendrons are rare in the Balkan Peninsula but Rhododendron kotschyi occcus in the mountains of northern Macedonia.

Balkan Alpine Grassland

High mountain grasslands are generally used as summer pasture and this together with past forest clearance has often extended these grasslands to lower altitudes than would normally be the case, and they may descend to as low as 1600 m. In general two types can be distinguished: those developed on predominantly alkaline soils on limestone and dolomite and those on acid or siliceous soils. The former is often dominated by the grass Sesleria nitida, and may include many endemic species such as Aquilegia aurea (Ranunculaceae), Arabis ferdinandi-coburgi (Brassicaceae), Centaurea achtarovii, C. napulifera (Asteraceae), Cerastium decalvans (Caryophyllaceae), Edraianthus serbicus and Jasione bulgarica (Campanulaceae) and Veronica saturejoides (Scrophulariaceae). On acid soils Featuca, Poa, and Nardus stricta are usually the dominant taxa. These are less rich in endemic species but in Macedonia the endemic Knautia dinarica (Dipsacaceae) can be found in such grassland.

Balkan Rock Vegetation

In Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Greece and Serbia rock exposures are frequent in the hill and montane zones. This habitat is very rich in endemic species. In shady situations certain endemic Gesneriaceae including Haberlea rhodopensis, Jankaea heldreichii (Mt Olympus), Ramonda nathaliae and R. serbica are some of the more typical rock plants, although the latter is confined to limestone. These all have a rosette structures typical of many mountain plants. The plants normally associated with the more sunny exposures include endemics such as Euphorbia myrsinites (Euphorbiaceae), Inula ashersoniana and I. macedonica (Asteraceae) and Trachelium jacquinii (Campanulaceae).  On limestone rocks in the Rhodope Mountains the assemblage of plants is likely to include endemics such as Dianthus petraeus (Caryophyllaceae), Linum rhodopensis (Linaceae), Scabiosa rhodopensis (Dipsacaceae), Linum dalmatica, Scrophularia aestivalis and Verbascum balcanicum (Scruphulariaceae). But throughout the BioProvince as a whole there are many other endemic species associated with rocky habitats including Achillea ageratifolium, A. clypeolata (Asteraceae), Aquilegia dinarica (Ranunculaceae), Amphoricarpus neumayeri, Campanula oreadum, C. waldsteiniana, Edraianthus dalmaticus, E. graminifolius and Jasione hedreichii (Campanulaceae), Centaurea macedonia (Asteraceae), Cerastium banaticum, C. decalvans, C. grandiflorum, Paronychia kapela  (Caryophyllaceae), Globularia cordifolia (Globulariaceae), Haplophyllum balcanicum (Rutaceae), Iberis sempervirens (Brassicaceae), Lilium rhodopaeum (Liliaceae), Macrotomia densiflora, Moltkia doerfleri, Onosma thracica and Solenanthus stamineus (Boraginaceae), Marrubium velutinum (Lamiaceae), Morina persica (Dipsacaceae), Pinguicula balcanica (Lentibulariaceae), Polygala supina subsp. rhodopea (Polygalaceae), Primula kitaibeliana (Primulaceae), Saxifraga stribrnyi (Saxifragaceae), Sibirea altaiensis (Rosaceae), Sideritis scardica, Teucrium arduini and Thymus striatus (Lamiaceae).


Horvat, I, Glavac, V & Ellenberg, H. 1974. Vegetation of Southeast Europe. Gustav Fischer Verlag. Stuttgart.

Polunin, O. 1980. Flowers of Greece and the Balkans. Oxford University Press.

Turrill, W. B. 1929. The Plant life of the Balkan Peninsula - a phytogeographical study. Oxford.

Webb, D. A. 1966. The Flora of European Turkey. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 6: 1-100.