The best place to stay on a tour to Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal!

Baikal Flora

Lake Baikal is located in the zone of a temperate sharply continental climate, it has an influence in the first place on the flora along the shores of the lake. Naturally enough if we begin to travel around the lake, we are sure to notice differences between steppes of the western part of the coast and exuberant damp forests of Khamar-Daban.

A mixed forest with stepped areas on slopes warmed up by the sun covers the eastern shore. It is largely found such trees as birch, aspen, pine and larch – a splendid coniferous plant which sheds its needles in winter. Underbrush consists of alder trees, bird cherry trees, rowan trees and dahurian ledum. There are plenty of fantastic flowers in the forest. In the earliest spring firstly pasqueflowers appear, also known as snowdrops, and cover dry slopes like a yellow and violet mat. Then they give place to scarlet globeflowers, violet columbines (bellflowers), white anemones. One can meet quite often the rarest guarded plants – orchids (large-flowered lady's slippers). Yellow kingcups bloom along the shores of rivers. In the end of summer Siberian berries (bilberry, cowberry, raspberry, red and black currants, blueberry, stone bramble, wineberry) become ripe.

In the middle part of the lake the forest moves from the coast to slopes of Primorsky ridge, steppes emerge instead of it. Tazheransky steppes, they resembles very much on Mongolian, covering slopes and elevations, are the most delightful during their blossom. Bright violet flowerbeds of thyme, red martagon lily, blue delphinium…it is dazzled from such a riot of colours. To imagine all this you should smell intoxicating fragrance of wormwood warmed up by the sun, thyme and other herbs that complements this picture.

On the slopes of Primorsky and Baikalsky ridges on the western shore, Barguzinsky and the ridge Khamar-Daban on the western shore, an altitude zoneness is clearly defined replicating a latitudinal one. It means that in one day it is possible to visit all climatic zones, beginning from forests and finishing insensate golezcs.  In mountain forests apart from trees mentioned above here appear the famous Siberian pine and cedar, seeds of which are not only to bird’s and animal’s taste but also to man’s taste. A primordial Siberian craft is a cedar nut picking. These nuts are taken from resiniferous strobiles. Besides cedars in mountains there are spruce and blue spruce, fir tree, juniper, balsamic poplar, a trunk of which can reach some meters around. In a damp underbrush there are lots of ferns and other hygrophilous plants (bergenia, forget-me-not). Walking up we find ourselves in zone of light forest and alpine meadows.

Here among single cedars there are bushes of a goldish rhododendron - a boscage with big yellow flowers. Immense spaces of mountain descents are covered everywhere with globeflowers, anemones, hellebores blooming almost the whole summer. Up to alpine meadows  mountain tundra stretches, it is wonderful with its severe beauty. Here snow cover doesn't melt almost the whole year. It is certainly not to favour the growth of vegetation. Only shortish saxifrages, cinquefoils, gentians and some other species conformed to such conditions. High up 2400m some placers with single groups of plants are clustered here. These deserts are kingdom of pioneer community of scale and foliated lichens striking by the variety of colorations and forms.

On the territory of the whole Pribaikalie along the shores of the lake there are a lot of plants useful for a man. In the first place a man eats wild garlic – ramson and bracken. To the middle of the summer becomes ripe a useful berry – honeysuckle, bilberry, currant; to the end - cowberry, blueberry and cedar nuts. There are always a lot of mushrooms in the forest - yellow boletus, agaric honey, rough boletus, orange-cap boletus, orange agaric, coral milky cap, milk mushroom. If you are lucky you can find even a cep. Well, one can’t help saying about herbs. To enumerate them it takes plenty of time. But we want to note a snowdon rose – an analog of Far Eastern ginseng, a vigorous stimulator of vital forces and immunity.

The information from http://www.baikalnature.com

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