Country:

Georgia

Theme:

Georgia – Colchis – More than a Legend

Exhibition target:

Aboriginal Flora of Western Georgia

Exhibition Content:

Coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs will be presented in zonal principle, as well as a decorative pool, artificial pathway and ethnographic elements.

Activities:

Delivering information about Colchis ecosystem at the exhibition.

Background:

Colchis Forest Reserve at the Batumi Botanical Garden

A typical Colchis forest is the first step of the forest vegetation. Its natural vertical borders along the littoral zone stretch from 15-25 m to 500 m above sea level.

At present the Colchis forest about 200-250 m above sea level is mostly deforested and preserved only in fragments here and there. One can best see the Colchis forest in its unchanged and primary form in the reserves located in the Transcaucasia Humid Subtropics phytogeographical department of the Batumi Botanical Garden.

Warm and humid subtropical climate preconditions the richness and diversity of the Colchis forest vegetation. It is here that we can see the majority of relict-ancient woody plants spread in Ajara. The sub-forest is rich in evergreen bushes and lianas. There are many tertiary period relicts in the herbaceous layer as well. Therefore, the Colchis forest is sometimes called the live museum of the ancient flora.  

The mixed broadleaved Colchis forest is represented by deciduous and evergreen species. High and relatively shallow circle mainly consists of Eastern beech (Fagus orientalis), Caucasian linden (Tilia caucasica), chestnut (Castanea sativa), alder (Alnus barbata) and Caucasian hornbeam (Carpinus caucasica). Relict species are also found in singles: wingnuts (Pterocarya pterocarpa), elms (Ulmus glabra), yew (Taxus baccata), Caucasian persimmon (Diospyros lotus), fids (Ficus carica), bitter cherry (Cerasus  avium) that enrich the Colchis forest. Therefore, the Colchis forest is considered as a poly-dominant grouping where various deciduous tree species predominate.

The sub-forest of the Colchis forest is the thickest and most evergreen layer represented by shrubs and bushes: (Rhododendron ponticum), cherry laurel (Laurocerasus officinalis), holly (Ilex colchica), boxwood (Buxus colchica) and seldom (Phillyrea medwedewii) that are often represented in tree-like forms only along the Ajara coastline. From the deciduous species, the following are famous in this layer: rhododendron (Rhododendron luteum), bilberry (Vaccinium arctostaphyllos), and guilder rose (Viburnum opulus), more seldom spindle-trees (Euonymus leiophlea). Below this layer there are Daphne pontica and Ruscus colchicus.

Lianas, Colchis ivy (Hedera colchica), smilax (Smilax excelsa) and abundance of ferns   give the Colchis forest a special look rendering it the resemblance with tropical forests.