Included here is the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian far east. It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west.

Kamchatkan Alnus crispus Thicket

An alder belt dominated by the endemic Alnus crispus subsp. sinuata surround most of the mountains.  It usually starts suddenly at an altitude of about 250 m reaching a height of about 1000 m as seen, for example, on the Gorelaja and Opala volcanoes, although in eastern and southern Kamchatka it virtually reaches sea level. At lower altitudes it can grow to a height of 3-4 m, but the height diminishes with altitude and can become a trailing low shrub at its altitudinal limit. In places it can become very dense and this appears to be partly due to the pressure of snow, which completely covers it in winter. A 4 m tall thicket may be compressed to just 1.5 m. The associated species vary from place to place but include several endemic taxa such as Cacalia auriculata subsp. kamtschatica (Asteraceae) and Trillium kamtschaticum (Liliaceae).

Kamchatkan Alpine Meadows

At altitudes ranging from 150 and 650 m depending on latitude, alpine meadows start to develop. On Kamchatka these are characterized by Carex longirostrata, Galium boreale, Geranium erianthum, Majanthemum dilitatum and the near endemic Artemisia unalaschcensis (Asteraceae). Other species may include Artemisia arctica, Juncus beringensis, Rubus arcticus, Salix arctica, Viola avatshensis and the endemic Cirsium kamtschaticum (Asteraceae) and Fritillaria camschatcensis (Liliaceae). At heights above about 1000 m these meadows start too peter out and the vegetation becomes more scattered, but at these high altitudes several alpine, endemic or near endemic taxa may be encountered including Dryas octopetala var. kamtscatica (Rosaceae), Oxytropis kamtschatica (Fabaceae), Salix berberifolia subsp. kamtschatica (Salicaceae) and Saxifraga merkii (Saxifragaceae).


Hulten, E. 1971. The plant cover of southern Kamchatka. Arkiv för botanik, 7: 181- 257.

Knystautas, A. 1987. The Natural History of the USSR. Century Hutchinson Ltd.

Kolbek, J., Srutek, M. & Box, E. O. 2003. Forest Vegetation in Northeast Asia. Kluwer Academic Publishers.