Tajikistan 2014: Final Stage of Trip

11 May woke this morning to heavy rain flooding everywhere, we were supposed to start heading north but due to a major landslip the road has been closed so today we are in the office checking emails and replanning our  route. The rain has stopped and we have been told that the road will be open tomorrow so we will start heading north to Bartang valley and we will explore this area then head up to Yazguiom range but due to two of the team going down with food posioning  they were put to bed and I went exploring the dry valley and was looking for the rare Androsace bryomorpha but to no avail.

The next day we left the home stay and headed towards the Vanj Valley, the rest of the team have recovered today. We knew this area was rich in species so we headed due north and with in 10 km we started getting into wetter areas walnut trees started to dominate the landscape yellow roses in flower and Juniper all started to appear.

We stopped to collect the juniper and found Tulipa in seed and Gentiana oliveri. At the end of the valley there is a glacier so we were all set to drive to the end and work our way back as we got nearer the road started to disappear and we were stopped by locals as a cow had been killed by a wolf and they were scouring the hillsides to try and find it. We continued our travels and drove through rivers till eventually we had to stop due to the road being  under water through snow melt.

We turned back disappointed but found two new species of Eremurus. After overnighting in another home stay we headed to a new mountain range the Darwaz.  We headed up the valley and just below the snow melt we started to find some special plant Iris bucharica but a dwarf form two types of Tulipa and Corydalis. We have now moved to Kali Khumb and a different aspect of the same range and just at the snow melt Fritillaries in flower F. bucharica with white flowers, Colchicum luteum, Allium, Primula and Corydalis to name but a few.

A long drive the next day took us away from the Afghan border and to Kulub where we stayed at the botanic garden and looked round the Central Asia section then the next day we headed up to a new range called the Hazratissho Within minutes we saw Eremurus aitchisonii, Allium gigantum and found plants of Iris rosenbackiana, Iris korolkowii and Anemone bucharica. Our final move is now to Rommit valley and Dushanbe where we will visit  Varsob and Gissar but first we have to visit customs and sort out our paper work.  The whole exploratory expedition has been very successful we have covered all aspects of the Pamir range dry and wet  and have seen some amazing sights plant wise and also views. The people have also been so welcoming it is truly an amazing country and one worth exploring more.

photo 5

Cercis griffithii

photo 3

Tulipa linifolia

photo 4

Iris bucharica dwarf

photo 2

Iris bucharica


3 different Iris bucharica

photo 1

Iris korolkowii

photo 5-1

Pressing and writing up notes

photo 4-1

End of the road vanj

photo 3-1

Vanj valley

photo 2-1


photo 1-1

Landslip on road to Kulub


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  1. Siegmar Breckle

    Hallo John, nice to see new photographs. Eager to see more plants!
    many greetings