Batumi Botanical Garden • Discover the world's subtropical flora! - Transcaucasian Humid Subtropics Department

The department was established in 1939 on a lightly terraced Northern slope in a 14 hectare area. A 3 hectare remains untouched as a Colchis forest preserve, and the rest has been planted with introduced Caucasian flora. It was planned as a forest park which would be floristically close to a natural Colchis forest with a composition of woody and herbaceous mesophyllous specimens. Five land plots were singled out: 1. Coniferous forest (upper part of the department); 2. A deciduous forest in the lower strip (the middle part); 3. The deciduous forest of the lower strip, basically in the form of reserves; 4. A Fruit-bearing plot bordering the forest and also planted throughout the Garden; 5. Small sized land plots in the riverside lowlands, as representatives of seaside marshy and sandy flora.

The rare plant demonstration plot was located in the department at the end of 1970s; here are found rare and threatened woody and herbaceous plants. The main goal of this plot was popularization and study of ecological rarities. The following plants were planted: Quercus imeretina, Q. Castaneifolia, Q. Dzhorochensis, Q. Hartwissiana, Parrotia persica, Ostrya carpinifolia.

Today there are 12 sections in the department, incorporating 367 species (83 woody) 216 genera, 96 families of wild flora of the Caucasus ecoregion subjected to ex situ conservation in the department. Included in this are 11 species of the “Red List” of the International Union for Protection of Nature (IUCN): Abies nordmanniana, Buxus colchica, Taxus baccata, Zelkova carpinifolia. Alnus glutinosa, Corylus avellana, Diospyros lotus, Ficus carica, Picea orientalis, Pterocaria pterocarpa, Vitis vinifera.

The following 7 species: Betula medwedewii, Rhododendron ungerni, Rhododendron smirnowii, Minuartia colchica, Scabiosa adzharia, Quercus pontica, Rhamnus imeretina are also recommended for the Caucasus “Red List.”

16 species are also included in the Georgian “Red List” (2006): Betula medwedewii, Buxus colchica, Castanea sativa, Laurus nobilis, Osmanthus decorus, Ostrya carpinifolia, Pterocarya pterocarpa, Quercus hartwissiana, Quercus imeretina, Quercus pontica, Rhododendron smirnowii, Rhododendron ungernii, Staphylea colchica, Taxus baccata, Ulmus glabra, Zelkova carpinifolia.

5 species of endangered wild flora and fauna are included in the list of the International Trade Convention (CITES): Cyclamen adzharicum, Galanthus alpinus, G.krasnovii, G.rizehensis and G.woronowii.

30 endemic species are also in ex situ conservation including: 5 Caucasian (Albizzia julibrissin, Gleditschia caspia, Parrotia persica, Solidago virgaurea, Helleborus caucasica), 2 Georgian (Galanthus woronowii, Dianthus ketzkhowelii), 8 Colchis (Aristolochia pontica, Betula medwedewii, Symphytum grandiflorum, Minuartia colchica, Quercus pontica, Iris lazica, Stachys trapezuntae, Paeonia macrophyllum), 10 Ajara-Lazeti (Galanthus krasnovii, G.rizechensis, Seseli foliosum, Rhododendron ungernii, R. smirnowii, Astragalus adzharicus, Quercus dschorochensis, Osmanthus decorus, Primula megasaefolia, Cyclamen adzharicum), 3 Ajara (Allium adzharicum, Centaurea adzharica, Ficaria popovii).

The vegetation of interior mountainous Ajara and Hirkarni (Azerbaijan) are well represented throughout the department. The fragments of unique virgin forest are particularly noteworthy, being rarely seen elsewhere as well preserved and protected. This natural forest is rich in relic species of the third geological period, including specimens of beech, chestnut, cherry-laurel and other woody trees 100-300 years or more old. The unique natural vegetation of this department is of great scientific, ecological, educational and visual importance given this unique character.