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Iran Flora – Plants and Flowers in IranMost of Iran is considered as the center of origin of many genetic resources of the world, including many of the original strains of commercially valuable plant species such as wheat, or medicinal and aromatic species. The southwest has some Afro-tropical features, while the southeast has some species from the Indo-Malayan sub-tropical realm.

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More than one-tenth of the country is forested. The most extensive growths are found on the mountain slopes rising from the Caspian Sea, with stands of oak, ash, elm, cypress, and other valuable trees. On the plateau proper, areas of scrub oak appear on the best-watered mountain slopes, and villagers cultivate orchards and grow the plane tree, poplar, willow, walnut, beech, maple, and mulberry.
Wild plants and shrubs spring from the barren land in the spring and afford pasturage, but the summer sun burns them away. Bears in the mountains, wild sheep and goats, gazelles, wild asses, wild pigs, panthers, and foxes abound. Domestic animals include sheep, goats, cattle, horses, water buffalo, donkeys, and camels. The pheasant, partridge, stork, and falcon are native to Iran.
The Iranian plateau, consisting of Iran. Afghanistan and Pakistan split away from Africa, itself the central fragment of the dividing Pangaea. The plateau wandered the great sea of Thetis for millions of years. Drifting north eventually to find and merge with the Eurasian landmass some 150 million years ago.

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The present-day area covered by Armenia, Daghestan and the Caucasus was then just a series of islands in the middle of the Sea of Thetis. The pressure exerted by the incoming Iranian plateau pushed the islands in its path inland, the whole lot eventually merging with the Eurasian super-continent.  The pressure exerted by the merger between Eurasia and the Iranian plateau led to folding of the Earth's crust along the line of fusion:  the massive ranges of the Himalayas, Hindoukush, Alborz and Zagros came into existence as a result of this folding process, as did the Red Sea.

The Arabian landmass partially split away from the main continent as a result of this pressure, closed in on Iran and pushed it inland: the shear forces involved led to the emergence of Zagros Mountains. This pressure still continues to this day, hence the frequent seismic activity in western Iran and the ever-increasing height of those mountains.
The Iranian Plateau Was located in a tropical region, below the current equator before separation from the continental land mass of origin, Gondmana. Which was centered on present dry Africa.
Its original fauna and flora, therefore, was essentially of the tropical variety. Once joined with the Eurasian continent, however, it found itself at the crossroads of several different environments.

The Iranian Plateau Was located in a tropical region, below the current equator before separation from the continental land mass of origin, Gondmana. Which was centered on present dry Africa.
Its original fauna and flora, therefore, was essentially of the tropical variety. Once joined with the Eurasian continent, however, it found itself at the crossroads of several different environments.

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What the Ice Age took pity on, man in his ravenous greed is ruthlessly destroying, the hypocrisy compounded by the subsequent replacement of the priceless with comparatively worthless conifers.

Looking down from space, the one-and-a-half million square kilometers of the Earth that makes up Iran will look like a trapezium, with mountains covering virtually its entire northern and western portions and arid desert accounting for the rest. The exceptions: two green strips, Along the Caspian littoral to the north and bordering the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to the south, plus a few fertile basins and valleys in the mountains of Alborz and Zagros and the central range; nothing more. The Alborz range prevents any of the moisture from the Caspian Sea drifting over to central and southern Iran. The Zagros Mountains perform a similar blocking role with respect to the Mediterranean. The end result is an overwhelmingly dry, mountainous country.

Scientists have conventionally divided the Northern Hemisphere in to four major zones: 

1. Europe -Siberia

2. The Mediterranean

3. Iran –Transoxania

4. Desert -Indus 

The soaring peaks of the Alborz range to the north and those of Zagros to the west, together with lesser ranges in the east, centre and south of the country, all combine for more than 100 peaks in excess of 4000 meters and provide the framework within which different climate zones develop, each one home to a panoply of plants and animals. This menagerie includes 8200 species of plant, 500 of bird. 160 of mammal and nigh on1000 species of reptile and aquatic organisms, a full description of which is again beyond the scope of our present discussion.

8200 Species of plants:

As described above. There exist 8200 species of plants in Iran, 2000 of them exclusive to Iran. The Caspian region the southernmost extension of the Europe-Siberia zone -is 800 kilometers long and enjoys annual precipitation ranging from 600 millimeters in Gorgon to 2000 millimeters at Bandar-e- Anzali. The region is home to 80 species of tree and 50 species of shrubs, including the box tree, common alder, oak, beech, hornbeam, Siberian elm. Chestnut, ivy, fern, buttercup, iris and several other species of palustral plants. 

The Zagros Region, stretching from Azerbaijan to the Straits of Hormoz, is a long strip of mountainous terrain that reaches a width of 300 kilometers and has ' annual precipitation in the 200-1000-millimetre range. Its resident flora includes the Persian oak, gallnut, domesticated and wild olives, Judas tree, juniper, milk vetch, Persian turpentine and almond.

The Central Plateau has an average elevation of 1300 meters, dropping to a low as 300 meters in the Kavir-e- Lut. Average annual precipitation is 300 millimeters, though some areas may not get any rain at all during the year. The predominant plant species are those resistant to heat and high soil salinity, such as the wormseed, milk vetch, Goose foot, tamarisk and soap-root. At higher altitudes one also comes across mountain almonds, wild pistachios, juniper and Persian turpentine.

The Southern Coastal Plains stretch from Qasr-e -Shirin to Gavatar and are dominated by a tropical climate. Plant species that do well in such conditions include the lotus tree, date palm, devil's pomegranate, and honeydew melon and mangrove forests. The mangrove is one of the wonders of nature. Originally a true land plant, the mangrove eventually adopted as its habitat the banks of rivers emptying into the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman. Mangrove forests are especially common in Qeshm and Gavatar, and are one of the true miracles of Creation. Another interesting plant is the 'Chandal' a tree native to the island of Madagascar but a resident of the Iranian plateau for several million years. Its mode of reproduction is described as 'viviparous' and the reader is encouraged to read further about it. 

500 species of bird

Some 500 species of birds live in the trees and shrubs, mountains and waters of Iran. Species related to the duck family are invariably migratory. Whereas members of the partridge family ore either semi-migratory or native species. Of these 500 species, 350 reproduce inside Iran, though 250 of them actually originate in geographic zones outside the country, such as the green woodpecker, Greater spotted woodpecker, wall-crawler. Wood pigeon, blue-headed titmouse and forest goldfinch, which come from Asia and temperate European regions, and the garden woodpecker and black-headed titmouse, originating from the warm shrub lands of the Mediterranean. Species fly in from as far away the plains of Africa, not to mention closer home from the steppes of Asia and Turkistan. More than 30 species of Indian origin live in the south of Iran, including the Indian heron, white-back eagle. Mocking bird, lesser sea-dove, coastal egret and yellow heron, which originate in both India and Africa. 

160 species of mammal

As Mr.Afshin Bakhtiar in his new book entitled "The Nature of Iran" has stated
The secret of Iran's varied nature is encoded in seven 'magic' numbers, listed
Below and explained thereafter.

The cryptic numerals of Iranian nature are

100, 6000, 8200, 160,500, 1000 and 129,999,998. 

As to their significance:

100: The temperature difference between different points in Iran during the summer and winter. In Hamadan, for example, the temperature drops by at least 2°C if one climbs just 200 meters up Mount Alvand. Similarly, in AbarKouh, a few kilometers in to the desert the temperature will undoubtedly climb more than a few degrees. If we assume that the temperature drops by about 1°C for every 100 meters elevation, the question of what constitutes the" correct" temperature becomes rather more difficult to answer. How low is the temperature at 4000 meters, or on top of Mount Damavand (5671 m), for that matter? At the other ends of the scale, my esteemed mentor; Dr Parviz Kardavani believes that the warmest point on the planet is not to be found, as claimed elsewhere. In Arizona, Arabia or the deserts of Libya but instead in the Kavir-e- Lut in Iran, where temperatures in excess of 600   C have been reported. Accordingly, assuming the temperature atop the highest peaks in Iran reaches at least 400 C below zero and that in the Kavir-e Lut reaches 60°C, the temperature difference thus obtained equals 100°e, a figure of much significance.

600: The highest point in the Iranian Plateau, Mount Damavand. , Stands 5671 meters above and its lowest point, in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea, lies27 meters below sea level. Simple arithmetic indicates, therefore, that the elevation range in the Iranian plateau equals approximately 6000 meters.

8200: Dr Qahreman is one of those people, who have spent much of their valuable lives among the shrubs and trees of Iran. He states that Iran is habitat to more than 8200 species of plant, 2000 of them exclusive to the plateau. From the jungles of Hirkan in the north to the steppes of Alborz and beyond them to the goosefoot forests of the desert, Iran acts as back drop to a unique and remarkable interplay of vegetation. 

160: A temperature difference of one hundred degrees and an elevation range of six thousand meters interact over an area of one-and-a-half million square kilometers to create a diversity of climates in which more than 8200 plant species co-exist with myriad small and large animals. One hundred and sixty species of mammal originating as far afield as Europe, India and Africa-live in Iran, forming, again, a fairly unique collection.

500: On any long flight over Iran, you are likely to witness a number of blue spots below you along the way. A closer look will reveal any of these "spots" to be a lake, pond or watering hole; a blue beacon to steer in the flocks of migrating birds yearning for a place to rest after a trek that perhaps began in Siberia and has lasted several thousand kilometers. Where better than the Anzali pond, the watering holes of Masileh or Lake Bakhtegan for migratory these flyers to rest their weary wings. Indeed the waters of Iran annually host millions of migrant birds, fleeing from the harsh Siberian cold in search of more hospitable climes. If we add the number of migratory, semi-migratory and native bird species found in Iran, we arrive at the figure five hundred species.

1000:  The Caspian Sea, with its vast collection of caviar-producing fish; the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, the abundant in land ponds, lakes and rivers that nurture the whole spectrum of desert and mountainous habitats are home to hundreds of species of reptiles and fish-nearly six hundred of which have been formally identified. A concerted research effort, however, will surely raise this figure to more than one thousand.

129999998: This figure represents the difference in weight between the smallest and largest mammals native to Iran. Note that 1have used the word 'mammal'; since if I were to use the word 'animal', the figure obtained would come to a round 130,000,000 grams. The amazing point here is the word 'mammal' -there indeed exists in Iran a mammal that weighs just 2 grams, an insectivore. At the other end of the scale. As it were there is a species of whale that weighs close to 130 tons. Thus we have seven numbers, a seven-number combination with which to unlock the diverse mysteries of Iranian nature.

Dionysia- THE Botanical Gem of Iran

A spectacular cushion plant in Primulaceae growing in rock crevices on vertical limestone cliffs at a range of altitudes from about 1500 m to over 3500 m. There are currently 49 species of Dionysia and are mainly centered on Iran and Afghanistan, but also found in Iraq, Pakistan, and Tadzhikistan.

We saw 14 endemic species of Dionysia in the Zagros Mountains. There was an amazing diversification of species - very rare to see two species on the same cliff.

The Islamic Republic of Iran annually exports some 15 to 20 million dollars of its flora and plants.

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