Welcome to Russia, a land of diverse landscapes and rich flora!
In this guide, I will introduce you to the common plants, trees, and flowers that flourish in our vast country, along with some vocabulary to help you identify them.
Russian Vocabulary for Trees, Plants, and Flowers
Let’s begin our exploration of Russian flora by delving into some basic plant-related terms. Learning these words will enhance your experience as you encounter various plant species in Russia.
In our exploration of Russian flora, let’s start with some basic plant-related terms:
дерево [dyeryeva] – tree
растение [rastyeneeye] – plant
цветок [tsvyetok) – flower
There is also the word “куст“/”кустарник” in Russian, which refers to “small trees”, bushes, shrubberies.
Parts of a Plant
Here is a list of Russian vocabulary related to plant and flower parts:
стебель – stem
корень – root
лист – leaf
бутон – bud
плод – fruit
семя – seed (plural семена)
ветка – branch
клубень – tuber
луковица – bulb
шип – thorn
пестик – pistil
тычинка – stamen
пыльца – pollen
чашелистик – sepal
кора – bark
почка – bud
These are just a few examples, but there are many more plant and flower parts. However, this is not a botany class, so we won’t delve further. This information is sufficient.
Tree and Plant Names
As you wander through Russia’s vast and varied landscapes, you’ll undoubtedly come across a wide array of trees and plants. Understanding their names in Russian will help you appreciate the beauty and significance of these natural wonders.
The birch tree, “берёза,” is one of the most iconic trees in Russia. It features delicate, silvery bark and is often associated with Russian landscapes.
“Сосна” is the pine tree, a tall conifer that thrives in our forests.
These two types of trees are the most common. At least in the Urals and Siberia they are found everywhere in every forest.
ель – spruce
лиственница – larch
осина – aspen
ясень – ash
клён – maple
дуб – oak
тополь – poplar
ива – willow
липа – linden
яблоня – apple tree
каштан – chestnut
кедр – pine nut tree
пальма – palm (can be found in the south of Russia)
бук – beech (not common)
секвойя – sequoia (not common)
In forests, fields, meadows and even gardens, the soil is covered with a variety of plants. Here is a list of the main ones:
осока – sedge
крапива – nettle
осот – thistles
лопух/репейник – burdock
полынь – wormwood
подорожник – plantain
пастушья сумка – shepherd’s purse
тысячелистник – yarrow
лютик – buttercup
пустырник – valerian
череда – chickweed
калужница – coltsfoot
пижма – tansy
горец – doorweed
якорцы – tribulus terrestris
See Also: 100+ Animal Names in Russian
Flowers add vibrant colors and fragrant scents to Russia’s scenic beauty. Discover the names of popular flowers in Russian and learn more about their cultural significance in our country.
Here is a list of floral names in Russian:
роза – rose
тюльпан – tulip
календула – marigold
ромашка – chamomile
лаванда – lavender
гвоздика – carnation
мак – poppy
подснежник – snowdrop
ирис – iris
пион – peony
герань – geranium
жасмин – jasmine
маргаритка – daisy
василёк – cornflower
хризантема – chrysanthemum
орхидея – orchid
георгин – dahlia
астра – aster (daisy-like flowers, that come in various colors and bloom from late summer into the fall)
гладиолус – gladiolus (tall spikes of colorful, sword-shaped flowers)
анютины глазки – pansies
портулак – portulaca (has vibrant, succulent-like foliage and colorful flowers)
лаватера – lavatera (has large, showy flowers and is commonly cultivated for its ornamental value)
флокс -phlox (abundant clusters of fragrant, star-shaped flowers)
The rose is highly regarded as a symbol of love, beauty, and passion in Russia. It is commonly given as a gift on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day or anniversaries to express affection and romance.
Carnations are a flower that holds multifaceted symbolism. While traditionally associated with honor and gifts for veterans, they have also come to represent mourning and sadness, often seen on memorial wreaths and graves. However, carnations can also be given as bouquets for various occasions, both to women and men.
Giving an even number of flowers to someone as a gift is traditionally associated with somber occasions like funerals. It can be seen as inappropriate or bring bad luck, as it might remind people of funeral rituals. Odd numbers are generally preferred for joyful occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Of course, it’s always best to consider the preferences and cultural background of the recipient when choosing a gift. Some modern Russians may not have strict beliefs about the number of flowers and may not consider it as important.
Russia’s geographical expanse is home to a rich tapestry of ecosystems, each with its unique flora. Whether you find yourself in the dense taiga, the frozen tundra, or the open steppe, you’ll be surrounded by fascinating plant life. Let’s take a closer look at the flora in these regions.
The Russian taiga (тайга), a vast forested region, is home to coniferous giants like spruce, pine, and fir.
In the tundra (тундра), you’ll find hardy plants adapted to the cold, like mosses, lichens, and Arctic willows.
The steppe (степь) offers a different landscape, with tall grasses, wildflowers, and hearty shrubs.
Wetlands, or “болото,” are habitats for various aquatic and moisture-loving plants.
In the alpine regions of the Caucasus and Altai Mountains, you’ll encounter unique, low-growing alpine plants.
In the south of Russia, closer to the Caucasus Mountains, the climate allows the cultivation of various fruits that are not available in the rest of the country: pears, apricots, plums, alycha, sweet cherries, watermelons, and grapes.
Common Plants in Russia
As you explore Russia’s wilderness, you’ll come across a variety of plants, some of which are common throughout the country. Learning about these plants and their significance will deepen your connection to our natural surroundings.
In Russia, a diverse array of plants thrives in the wild and is commonly encountered in gardens. Forests, a prominent feature of the landscape, are home to a variety of trees, including the ever-present сосна (pine) and ель (spruce). Among the deciduous trees, the graceful and iconic береза (birch) stands out with its distinctive white bark.
Russian gardens, on the other hand, host a mix of practical and ornamental plants. Vegetables such as картофель (potatoes), морковь (carrots), and помидор (tomatoes) are meticulously cultivated, contributing to the kitchen’s bounty. Fruit trees like яблоня (apple) adorn many garden orchards, while ornamental flowers are cherished for their aesthetic appeal.
In Russia, gardens may contend with several common weeds, often viewed as nuisances. These include крапива (nettle), осот (thistle), лопух (burdock), одуванчик (dandelion), полынь (wormwood), лебеда (swan). These hardy and persistent plants can be a challenge to control. In the wild, the Russian landscape is adorned with an array of wildflowers, including delicate мать-и-мачеха (pansies), that blooms one of the first in the spring, ромашка (chamomile), колокольчик (bellflower) and others.
Shrubs also play a significant role in Russian gardens, adding both aesthetic and practical value. These may include черёмуха (bird cherry), сирень (lilac), смородина (currant), дикая яблоня (wild apple), клён (maple), облепиха (sea buckthorn), акация (acacia), рябина (rowan) and others. In Russian gardens, the cultivation of this diverse range of plants, both ornamental and practical, reflects the nation’s deep connection to the land and the rich tapestry of its natural beauty.
Russian cuisine is known for its use of wild plants and mushrooms. Understanding the edible plants in Russia not only enhances your culinary experience but also enables you to appreciate the rich traditions of foraging in our country.
Edible plants include primarily vegetables, fruits and berries that we grow in our gardens:
яблоко – apple
груша – pear
малина – raspberry
ежевика – blackberry
земляника – strawberry
арбуз – watermelon
дыня – melon
клубника – strawberry
вишня – cherry
смородина – currant
виноград – grapes
абрикос – apricot
слива – plum
помидор – tomato
огурец – cucumber
баклажан – eggplant
перец – pepper
картофель – potato
морковь – carrot
свёкла – beetroot
капуста – cabbage
лук – onion
чеснок – garlic
зелень – greens/herbs
петрушка – parsley
укроп – dill
базилик – basil
мята – mint
If you want a more comprehensive list of vegetables, they have all been listed in this post.
In addition to plants, there are also edible mushrooms (съедобные грибы) that grow in Russian forests.
Here are some commonly known mushroom names in Russian:
белый гриб – porcini mushroom/boletus
лисичка – chanterelle
масёнок (plural маслята) – slippery jack
опёнок (plural опята) – honey mushrooms
подберёзовик – birch bolete
подосиновик – orange cap bolete
рыжик – saffron milk cap
сыроежка – russula
груздь – milk agaric
Вешенка (king oyster mushroom) and шампиньон (champignon) are often sold in supermarkets, they are mass produced under artificial conditions.
Mushroom identification can be challenging, and it’s always recommended to consult a mycologist or a reliable source when foraging or consuming wild mushrooms.
Russian gardens are a reflection of the enduring connection between the Russian people and the land they cultivate. Gardens in Russia serve a dual purpose – practicality and aesthetics. They are not just spaces for relaxation and beauty but also a source of sustenance.
In these gardens, a wide variety of plants are cultivated, from vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and cucumbers to fruit trees and berry bushes. Self-sufficiency in providing fresh produce is highly valued, and gardening is often considered a labor of love and a cherished tradition.
Ornamental plants, including popular floral names like asters, gladioli, lilies, lavateras, marigolds, phloxes and irises, add color and charm to the garden landscape.
Here are a couple photos of the flowers my mom grows. She especially likes phlox and dahlias.
Dahlias freeze as soon as the nighttime temperature drops to freezing in September. Therefore, they need to be covered if you want to keep this beauty at least until October.
Gardening in Russia is more than a hobby; it’s a way of life that offers a connection to nature, an escape from urban life, and a source of beauty and solace. These gardens represent a harmonious blend of practicality and aesthetics, turning them into oases of relaxation and tranquility.
I think it’s time to call it a day.
Our journey through Russian nature and its vocabulary for plants and flowers has provided you with valuable insights into the natural beauty of our country.
Enjoy your exploration and embrace the beauty of our natural world!