Included here is the Anatolian Plateau east of the ‘Anatolian Diagonal’, the Armenian Highlands, most of Iran and part of Afghanistan.

Armeno-Iranian Mountain Riparian Woodland

These are mainly confined to humid river valleys in the Kopetdagh Mountains at elevation between 1000-1500 m. They are variously dominated by Fraxinus syriaca (Syrian ash), Juglans regia subsp. turcomanica (walnut) or Ulmus carpinifolia (elm). Understory shrubs include Lonicera floribunda, Rosa lacerans and Rubus sanguineus, while typical herbaceous ground species are Anisantha sterilis, Anthriscus longirostris and Physocaulis nodosus. Rare and endemic orchids such as Epipactis veratrifolia and Ophrys transhyrcana (Orchidaceae) may also be encountered. In the more humid zones hygrophytic species like Mentha longifolia and the horsetail Equisetum ramosissimum are common. There are also several wild vine species including Vitis silvestris, which often embraces tree crowns to heights of 10 m, Periploca graeca, a Mediterranean-Caucasian species, and the ancient relict Malacocarpus crithmifolium (Peganaceae). The latter is found in several disjunct locations in Middle Asia.

South Iranian Silty Alluvial Plain Formations

Most of the flood plains support a thick covering of fine silt. Good examples can be found in the wide flood plains of the Dasht River and its tributaries. Here the dominant species are Capparis decidua and Prosopis cineraria. Unfortunately the latter has often been over exploited for fuel or for building material. In fact exploitation of this species has contributed to the desertification of the area. Capparis decidua is well adapted to the dry conditions with its thick stem and lack of true leaves. Other species include Calligonum crinitum and Indigofera oblongifolia. Along river edges, the deep-rooted perennial grass Desmostachya bipinnata often stabilizes the banks. During the wet season these plains can become partially covered with ephemerals like Asphodelus tenuifolius, Astragalus eremophilus, Euphorbia serpens, Farsetia heliophila, Heliotropium remotiflorum, Malva parviflora, Plantago amplexicaulis and Trigonella uncata.

South Iranian Dry River Bed Formations

Most of the rivers, such as the Rakshan in the Panjgur Valley and the Kech and Nihing rivers in the Kech Valley are dry for most of the year. The vegetation that colonizes these dry riverbeds is therefore scattered throughout much of the region. It largely consists of thorny trees, shrubs and perennial herbs with well-developed root systems. Typical species in the lower levels include Nerium oleader, Rhazia stricta, Saccharum ravennae and Zygophyllum propinquum. On elevated ledges the characteristic species are trees such as Acacia hydaspica, Salvadora oleoides, Ziziphus nummularia, and shrubs like Lycium edgeworthii and L. shawii. Several species of Tamarix, such as T. aphylla, T. indica and T. stricta, can also form dense stands here, but widespread in broad river beds are various draught adapted, fleshy-leaved perennial such as Commicarpus stenocarpus, Grantia aucheri and Pteropyrum aucheri.

South Iranian Hydrophytic Formations

Because of the aridity of the area hydrophytic vegetation is limited to oases, channels and permanent streams. The latter can be found, for example, in the piedmont area near Pidarak. Here the bulk of the vegetation is composed of Cyperus laevigatus, Eleocharis geniculata, Fimbristylis diphylla, Scirpus maritimus and Typha domingensis. Mesotrophic waters are indicated by the presence of Najas marina, Potamogeton nodosus and P. pectinatus.


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