Include here is northern Greece (including the Pindos Mountains), parts of Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia (including the Karawanken and Julian Alps), but not the Adriatic coastal areas of these states. Its northeastern boundary runs mostly along the valley of the River Sava and continues along the Danube River to include most of Bulgaria with the exception of its northeastern steppe regions. In the southeast it extends into European Turkey. Also included is the so-called Pannonic zone named after the old Roman province of Pannonia, which is a western enclave of the steppe region and centred on the Hungarian Plain but also includes southern Romania and northern Bulgaria. In fact, it forms a corridor of lowlands along either side of the Danube River to the northwestern coast of the Black Sea.

Balkan (Pannonic) Salt Steppe and Inland Saltmarsh

Saline soils cover something in the order of one million hectares of the Pannonic zone with many of them on the old flood plains of major rivers. Where evaporation exceeds precipitation natural accumulations of mineral salts develop in surface soils (know as szik soils in Hungary), but these are not simply chlorides they also include carbonates and sulphates and so species composition is often quite different from coastal saltmarshes. Characteristic species of these salt communities include Aster sedifolius, Beckmannia eruciformis, Limonium gwelinii, Pholiuris pannonicus, Plantago cornuti, Taraxacum bessarabicum, Trigonella procumbens and endemic or near endemic species such as Cyperus pannonicus (Cyperaceae) and Plantago schwarzenbergiana (Plantaginaceae).  In Hungary where the soils are rich in soda and reach alkalinities of pH 9 Crypsis aculeata, Puccinellia distans, Suaeda maritima subsp. pannonica are the characteristic species. Others include Atriplex tatarica, Camphorosoma annua, Crypsis schoenoides, Salsola soda, and the endemic Aster tripolium subsp. pannonicus (Asteraceae). However, where there is early flooding on sandy soils, the near endemic eastern galingale Cyperus pannonicus (Cyperaceae) becomes the dominant species, while in dry salt steppe Festuca pseudovina is more likely to dominate. Other endemic species associated with these salt communities include Cirsium brackycephalum (Asteraceae) and Puccinellia limosa (Poaceae).


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.