Much to see on the forest floor
Mtatsminda Mountain in Tbilisi features a range of soil and exposure conditions that host diverse perennial flora. In this post, we introduce a few ground-level perennial species found on Mtatsminda’s slopes and ravines.
In early spring, geophytes (literally ground-plants) are abundant. Geophytes keep their perennial buds below the surface, often attached to corms, bulbs, or tubers. Starting in February you can find Crocus and Cyclamen blooming in the snow, followed by Corydalis, Fritillaria, Iris, Muscari, and Scilla.
April is wild orchid season. They can be found at higher elevations on the woodland floor where there’s more organic matter in the soil and humid conditions.
Geophytes dominate from early spring until the hottest days of July. At its floral peak, Mtatsminda is covered with umbellifers, euphorbias, and members of the Lamiaceae family; these pair beautifully with the long, feathery inflorescences of Stipa pennata and fluffy spikes of Koeleria pyramidata on the forest floor. In later summer months, Cotinus coggygria blooms with airy pink flower clusters and Dictamnus albus, the Gas Plant, can be seen poking out between dark green stalks of Spiraea and Ephedra. Cushions of yellow Onosma taurica, with their curling stems (a trademark of the Boraginaceae Family) punctuate open rocky slopes.
Our favorite spots for perennials on Mtatsminda include the ridge above Turtle Lake (Kus Tba), the Nightingale Forest; for iris, the exposed slopes above Okrokana, and orchids, the trails and slopes near the Bagebi cemetery.