Flora of Tara National Park
There are 34 forest and 19 meadow communities, where the forest plant communities are the fundamental phenomenon and the greatest value of Tara. Capacity is dominated by mixed forests of fir, spruce and beech, and Serbian spruce forests in the national park makes this area different from anything similar in the world.
The favorable geographical position and the mutual influences of various environmental factors contributing to great biological diversity, and so far discovered and described species in the National Park Tara, make up one third of the flora of Serbia (more than 1100 species) and contain over 80% of its flora elements. Tara is known as a refuge for many endangered endemic, relict and endemic-relict species, amongst which the most valuable is the endemic- relict Serbian spruce.
The vegetation of meadows, pastures and mountain peats is very diverse. Communities of plantain, corn buttercup, matgrass, smooth flatsedge, rattle and crested dogstail replace each other on the fields of Tara. Especially interesting are the meadow peat of monocot and purple moor grass.
On rocks and sandbanks the presence of interesting plant communities with endemic character has been discovered, such as a plant community dominated by endemic species Derventan cornflower (Centaurea derventana).
Rare and endangered species of flora of TARA NATIONAL PARK
There are 210 species of plants under the government protection in the Tara National Park: 47 species are strictly protected, while the remaining 163 are endangered species. At the preliminary Red list of flora of Serbia (Stevanović et al, 2003) there is 115 taxa certain degree of vulnerability. Major endangered plant species on Tara are the Serbian spruce, mountain maple, yew, holly, Derventan Cornflower, male and female peony, mountain sasa, gladioli, orchids, crested wood fern and other. Endemism is an ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location. The most important species that is a symbol of the entire area is the Serbian spruce, often called the Empress of endemics, tertiary relict species tens of millions years old, which in today’s world inhabits only the area around the middle flow of the river Drina. Local endemic Aquilegia grata subsp. nikolići and Centaurea derventana Derventan Cornflower have very limited distribution.
In this area there are 5 species listed as Red Book of flora of Serbia: Leontopodium alpinum – Edelweiss, Waldsteinii trifolia, Adenophora lilifolia – Lilyleaf Ladybell, Cladium mariscus – Saw sedge, Dryopteris cristata – crested wood fern.
The Serbian spruce is a type of an endemic species in the middle course of the Drina River. The biggest and the best preserved population are in Tara National Park. The total area of its distribution extends to about only 60 hectares, at altitudes of 800 to 1.600 meters above sea level. The species was discovered in the village of Zaovine, on Tara, in 1875 by a Serbian botanist Josif Pančić. As a tree the spruce has a straight and slender trunk with a pyramidal treetop. It grows on highly rocky and poor limestone above all but on other fields as well. It is resistant to drought, excessive humidity and frost. Because of its limited range, it does not present an important source of food for wildlife, however it does provide shelter for birds and small mammals.