FLORA OF SVANETI
Svaneti has a very uneven terrain. Glaciers, mountain ranges and plateaus
configure exotic landscapes covered with variety of vegetation and herbs.
The Range of Greater Caucasus protects Georgia from the influence of cold
North climate, and the Black Sea provides favourable humidity for a variety of
plants. In terms of its geo-botanic diversity, Georgia is one of the most
distinguished places in the world.
We can easily observe vertical zones of plant distribution in Svaneti. The
alpine zone starts from 2450 - 2500 meters and continues up to 3100-3200 meters
above sea level; the upper boundary of forests is set at 2400 - 2500 meters.
Coniferous woods are spread from 800 - 900 meters. In the lower forest zone
there are relic mixed deciduous forests with Georgian oaks, Eastern beeches,
Caucasian hornbeams, lime-trees, ash-trees, elms, maples, birches etc.
In the sub zone of mixed forests, we meet monodominant (beech, oak and
hornbeam) and bidominant (beech-hornbeam, oak-hornbeam etc.) groves.
In higher zones, dominate dark coniferous forests: fir-groves, silver-firs,
pine groves and mixed forests: beech-fir, beech-silver-fir, etc.
In sub forests, there are plenty of cornels, hazelnuts, different kinds of
berries, greengage, wild apple and pear trees and other plants - widely used in
Judging by the relic bio-environment still growing in Georgia, we can assume
that antique Colchis was rich of diverse flora.
Different kinds of herbs grew in the garden of the mythical Medea and their
extracts were used for preparation of different medical substances and sometimes
even magic drugs and poisons. Apparently, Medea's sorcery made Jason strong and
powerful, hypnotized the dragon, which guarded the Golden Fleece, and helped the
Argonauts to take it away from Colchis. Medea managed to transform an old sheep
into a lamb; poisoned Creont and his daughter Creuza and committed many other
deeds, which are indicative of the magic power of her potions.
Many scientists think that the word Medicine originates from Medea's name.
She is considered the progenitrix of pharmacology and cosmetics. A German
botanist and physician Kurt Joachim Sprengel (1766-1833) in his book "Pragmatic
History of Medicine" specially studied this issue and identified 36 medical
herbs from Medea's garden used in different substances by the Colch princess.
Today the Georgian scientists have identified and studied about three hundred
different medicinal herbs.
Medical traditions of ancient Colch's are still widely used and developed in
Georgia. Such mixtures as Patchkoria, Dolidze, Burdiladze; balsams - Kolkhuri,
Turmanidze, Karchauli, Gochitashvili, remedies for traums - Askurava, Khabazi,
Loladze and etc. are highly appreciated by official medicine
Incredibly rich bio-diversity of Svaneti, multitude of medical herbs, clean
environment and different natural mineral water springs created the base of the
Svan folk medicine.
The woods are partially represented by relic sub forest. In sub-alpine zones
(from 1800-1900 meters to 2450-2500 meters above sea level), there is abundance
of different vegetation. Here we meet variety of mixed groves of woods, bushes
In the zone of relatively sparse forests, dwarfish and twisted trees
predominate. A colourful representative of the sub-alpine flora is a relic
evergreen Rhododendron Caucasicum, spread on the large areas over North and West
One of the main components of the sub-alpine phyto-landscape is a grass cover
including different species of herbs and flowers.
Svaneti is rich with Medicinal herbs.