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Its stunning mountains and beautiful landscape guarantee that you will find an amazing variety of plants in Kukës. Besnik Hallaçi, a biologist and the director of the Administration of Protected Areas in Kukës, has selected 10 of the oldest and most unique plants of the area for IntoAlbania.
This perennial herbaceous plant, is found in several places in the Kukës region. But, the meadows of Novosej in Reçica, boast the most extraordinary habitat with an amazing density and beauty of daffodils. This habitat is located in a valley of wet meadows, surrounded by the birch forest and the Reçica streams. Their flowering period extends from May to early June. Because of its unique aroma, the daffodil is widely used in the global perfume industry. Albanian locals hail it as a symbol of beauty, sincerity, and love. During the flowering period, girls and boys collect bouquets of flowers to give to their loved ones.
Trollius europaeus, the globeflower, is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows in sub-alpine and alpine areas, in wet meadows, beech and fir forest clearings. In Kukës, the plant can be found in great numbers in the wet meadows of the Kallabaku mountain. Here, it grants the landscape a striking appearance. However, please be careful! The plant is inedible and poisonous!
In addition to being a popular tourist spot for hiking aficionados, Guri i Mëngjesit (Morning Rock) is also home to several ancient and unique plants. One of these is the magnificent carnation. Another herbaceous plant, this one is found in the alpine pastures of the Shishtavec area. The flowers contain a sweet nectar, are edible and can even be boiled to make a nice drink. In traditional Chinese medicine, the carnation/clove has historically been used as an anti-inflammatory plant.
Allium victorialis, otherwise known as the victory onion, is a perennial plant, which grows in alpine areas, specifically in rocky environments. The plant belongs to the Eurasian species of broad-leaved wild onion and it is widely found in the mountainous regions of Europe and some parts of Asia (the Caucasus and the Himalayas). In Albania, this plant grows only in the Kallabak Mountain, in Shishtavec. The victory onion, also a gorgeous ornamental plant, has also been cultivated for centuries as a medicinal plant in various places in Europe. Unfortunately, today it is considered an endangered plant.
The Sharr Saffron is a difficult plant to cultivate as it requires very specific conditions: coolness and moisture during the summer and a cold snowy winter. In Albania, it is located in the eastern Alps, in Korabi Mountain, Kallabak and up to Gjallica. In the Korab-Sarakoli and Kallabak areas, the beautiful yellow plant forms a carpet-like density over large areas, resulting in stunning landscapes. If you happen to be in this area during the period of May-June, do not leave without a photograph of this little earthly paradise.
The small primrose variety (in Albanian: Aguliçja e vogël) is a herbaceous plant, characterized by fuchsia and violet flowers. It blooms in June, predominantly in the Balkans but also in Italy, particularly in the northern areas of Lombardy and Trentino. Likewise, in Albania, this vibrant plant grows in the alpine area surrounding the Sylbice-Doberdoli mountain range, flourishing in rocky environments and around bushes.
The Korab valley in the northwestern part of the country hides various particular plants. Among them, we have another one in the primrose genus commonly refered to as “bird’s eye” primrose (in Albanian: Aguliçja e Hallerit). Found in large numbers in central and southern Europe, it also blooms in the valley of the Korab mountain in May. In fact, this entire region is known as the home of the most beautiful primroses of our country.
The Silene Macrantha (in Albanian: Klokëza Lulemadhe) is one of the most beautiful kinds of the carnation genus. The special plant gets its name from its beautiful large blooms. In Albania, it grows around Shkëlzen Mountain, usually particular lodged in the crevices created between limestone rocks. When they flower, the macranthas create stunning a contrast with the rocks in the background!
This herbaceous plant, with small yellow star-shaped flowers, is an endemic Balkan plant. In many European countries, the plant often replaces saffron in cooking. However, the plant is also beautiful and has curative properties, as well. In folk medicine, the plant is used as herbal tea to treat coughs, and the leaves specifically are used to heal wounds. It is found around the wet areas of the Doberdol mountains as well as on the peaks of Korab and Kallabak.
Lunaria annua is a beautiful perennial plant whose Latin name means “moon-shaped” and refers the flower’s pearly seedpods. The latter turn from moon-like translucent, pearly white disc-shaped pods to beautiful violet flowers. The plant is currently under review for being placed under international protection and also included in the Red List of Threatened Species. It is found in Shkëlzen Mountain, in Maja e Hekurave (Iron Peak), the Tropoja River Valley and the Gashi River.
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