Liechtenstein's flora can be divided into three zones: the Rhein Valley floor; the lower mountain slopes above the Rhine and the Alps; and the fens and moors. For many plants requiring warm conditions, Liechtenstein and the warm climate it enjoys, thanks in part to the Föhn wind, is the most northerly place they can flourish. Of the 1600 types of plants found in the Principality, 800 are native to mountainous regions. The country is also home to 48 different kinds of orchid as well as a wide range of flora in the Ruggeller Riet.
The first mention of Liechtenstein by a botanist dates back to 1537, when the German doctor and botanist Bock discovered the European cyclamen in the Oberland. Between 1896 and 1900 the Austrian botanist Beck created a herbarium with 500 plants for Liechtenstein. Other renowned botanists associated with Liechtenstein are Murr and Seitter, both of whom documented the various plants living in Liechtenstein. The most recent work of this kind was completed by Edith Waldburger from Buchs, who compiled a herbarium with all of the 1600 plants known to exist in Liechtenstein today. Of these 1600 plants, 25% are on the "Red List" of extinct, rare or endangered plants.
Liechtenstein's moorland areas bear witness to the history of vegetation in the Principality following the Ice Age. Pollen trapped in peat remains intact for many millennia. The most important discovery of ancient pollen was found near the Obere Burg ruins in Rietle, Schellenberg. The most common tree in Liechtenstein after the Ice Age was the birch, followed by the fir and the hazel. Around 2000 years before the start of the common era, wheat was grown in the region - a sign that the area was inhabited or used by humans. After the end of the Ice Age, Liechtenstein was covered in forests, with the treeline at around 2000m altitude. The beech tree became the most prominent tree in the region and remains so today. The proximity of Liechtenstein to the area around the Swiss town of Chur meant that some plants native to that region also found their way into the Principality. The same goes for the Seeztal valley in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen. The Ruggeller Riet, a nature reserve which has been the subject of many publications, is well worth a visit. The Alps are also home to many interesting plants, in particular the tiger lily.