Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Revisiting Kazakhstan--three years later...(photogallery)

Atraphaxis shrub in seed in Altai steppe
 I was fortunate three years ago to spend over three weeks in the Altai and Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan at the behest of Plant Select in the company of Mike Bone (curator of steppe collections at DBG), led by the indefatigable and always cheerful (and very knowledgeable) Vladimir Kolbintsev. We were following up on plants we'd seen in 2009, and covering some new territory on this trip. I have looked back and realized that though I'd published some of the best pictures from our 2009 trip on this blog (that's the highlighted link "plants we'd seen above--click on it to see them), I had never put most of these on this blog hitherto. Celebrating the three year anniversary of one of the highpoints of my life, I include a few images here for your enjoyment and consideration...

Dipsacus azureus with Fritillary butterfly in Jabagly Nature reserve

Dipsacus azureus with Fritillary butterfly in Jabagly Nature reserve
Dragonhead (Dracocephalum sibiricum) in the Altai

Dwarf cottonwood Populus diversifolia (very rare)

Dwarf Monkshood (Aconitum) in the Altai
Gentiana algida in the Altai (also grows in Colorado)
High Tian Shan from Aksu Gorge

Juniperus tianshanicus at Aksu Gorge

Juniperus tianshanicus at Aksu Gorge

Kirghistan in distance Mike collecting Ungernia seed

Larix sibirica cones

Mike Bone, horseman of the Steppe!

Nanophyton erinaceus growing on gypsum (rare plant)

Orostachys spinosa (succulent)

Orostachys spinosa (succulent)

Pass on Djabagly Nature reserve

Praying Mantis and Chi grass in background

Saxifraga albertii on Kirghistan border in Tien Shan of Kazakhstan

Vladimir Kolbintsev and Mike Bone with Larix sibirica giant (Siberian Larch)


  1. Wonderful, wonderful.

  2. That Populus is VERY interesting. Google search yields hits for P. diversifolia...is diversifolius a typo?

  3. Yes, Susan...'twas a typo indeed. The "folia" are "diversa" in that there are juvenile leaves (that look like willow leaves) and round poplar like leaves on the same tree. It has a fairly wide range in Central Asia, but I don't think it's very common anywhere. I would love to grow this!

    1. And the huge trunk it develops! The internets tell me that folklore says it takes a 1,000 years to grow, 1,000 years to die, and 1,000 to decompose after it's fallen. How poetic is that? Seriously, you'll have to pull some strings and get one of these at DBG. Surely a garden of it's stature could coax the Chinese Government into sharing some seed of its 'huyang' trees.

  4. Mmmm, the Dipsacus is a beauty, except those dang butterflies getting in the way ;-) How tall does this grow teazel grow? And is it spiny and biennial like some of the others?

    I like the Dracocephalum and Atraphaxis too, good ornamental quality. Amusing to see an Orostachys (spinosa) with delusions of Eremerus grandeur. I'm honored to have at least a couple Alliums from your expedition blooming in the garden this year.

  5. Vladimir visited the UK some years ago and gave a talk on the Aksu Djabagly area to our local AGS group while he was here. I remember magnificent scenery and fine plants .... and his gold teeth!

  6. Beautiful shots. My friend used to live there and recently returned. Stunning shots.


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