Hannelotte.Kindlund@abc.se      December 2002

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Kamchatka, September 2002

Northeastern Asia

Our tours on Kamchatka


In September 2002 my husband and I visited Kamchatka for almost two weeks.

I prepared the trip by surfing the Internet and by reading. The newly published Flora and Climatic Conditions of the North Pacific (Edit. Berkutenko et al) has been very important for my understanding of the Flora of Kamchatka. Alexandra Berkutenko has also been so kind, to help me with identification of plants after I had returned home.

Kamchatka is a peninsula in the easternmost part of Siberia, connected through the Aleutes with Alaska and through the Kurile Islands with Japan. Along Kamchatka's Pacific coast, you can find about 300 volcanoes, about 30 of them still active. The lowlands in the southern part of the island are covered by huge, untouched birch forests. The climate is cold and the two last weeks of September were a little late for botanizing. Only a few plants were in bloom, most seed was shed and in the mountains many plants had already gone dormant.


Betula ermanii

Epipactis papillosa

Cirsium kamchaticum

Cacalia hastata

Mayanthemum dilatataum

Aconitum maximum

Filipendula kamchatica

Some other species
I found in the forest:

  • Allium ochotensis
  • Iris setosa
  • Clematis ochotensis
  • Aruncus dioicus
  • Heracleum dulce
  • Thalictrum aquilegifolium
  • Lilium debile
  • Daphne kamchatica
  • Cimicifuga simplex


Saussurea tilesii

Artemisia stelleriana

Rubus arcticus

Gentianella auriculata

Rosa ragusa

Fritillaria camschatcensis *

Iris setosa *

Senecio pseudoarnica *

* Pictures from my garden


The caldera of Uzon

Caldera of Uzon

Spiraea beauverdiana

Arctostaphylos alpinus

Lycopodium sp

Caldera of Uzon

A dwarf vulcano, Caldera of Uzon

Spiraea beauverdiana

Eruption of the large geyser, Valley of Geysers.


The mountains north of the capital Petropavlosk are dominated by the tops of Koryarsky (about 3 500 m) and Avachinsky (about 2700 m). Koryarsky hasn't been active in historical time, but Avachinsky is one of the most active volcanoes of Kamchatka. Our visit of Avachinsky was one of our last trips and we had been able to watch the snow covering more of the mountains for each day of our stay in Petropavlosk.

The bumpy ride in our four-wheel truck went through the broad riverbed formed by the spring floods from the mountains. We stopped at the altitude of about 1000 m on the plateau between the two mountains, where we were welcomed by a large number of curiously watching long-tailed marmots and a Kamchatka bear.

The flora of the Avachinsky massive is rather well known, since it is so easy to approach. In the investigation performed by Alexandra Berkutenko and her colleagues there were found 235 different species.

The plateau is covered by lava grit and lava sand. The main vegetation consisted of Salix arctica, different species of Vaccinium, several species of low, silvery Artemisia, Dryas punctata and Oxytropis kamchatica. There were also Loiseleuria procumbens, Phyllodoce and Cassiope, plants which are common also in European mountains. Among the dominating vegetation there were a lot of small cushions of plants, most of them totally new to me (see images). On a slope I found large colonies of Rhododendron aureum and hundreds of plants of Lagotis glauca.

Stellaria eschscholtziana

Salix arctica

Minuartia macrocarpa

Artemisia sp

Potentilla vulcanicola

Ermania parryoides and Artemisia glomerata

Cassiope ericoides

Gentiana algida

Androsace?? sp and Oxytropis kamchatica

Rhododendron aureum

Rhodiola sp ??

Sibbaldia procumbens

Rhododendron camchaticum
(from my garden)

Kamchatka bear


A caldera on our way to Mutnovsky volcano

Rhododendron aureum
(In the garden of a friend)

Cassiope sp 1

Cassiope sp 2

Lagotis glauca