Pancic's investigations of the flora of the flora of Mt Kopaonik

Mt Kopaonik is certainly one of the most significant and most interesting mountains in Serbia, which Josif Pancic visited for the first time as far back as 1851 when he discovered its beauties and peculiarities. Almost fascinated by Kopaonik, Pancic has been investigating its living and nonliving world as long as his corporal strength allowed. When, aged 72, he climbed its summit for the last, l8th time, he said to his travelling companions: ”It was my intention to study Kopaonik thoroughly, but I did not have time/I ran out of time. It is upon you brethren to complete all that I have started.” 

The fact that his last wish was to be buried on the very summit of Kopaonik  reveals to what extent Pancic was devoted to this mountain. The mausoleum has been erected  there in his memory and nowadays it  is called Pancic’s summit.

Pancic wrote many papers dealing with the plants of Kopaonik. In his first paper on plants of Serbia (Verzeichniss der in Serbien wildwachsenden Phanerogamen, nebst den Diagnosen einiger neur Arten),  published in 1856, Pancic reported the first list of the flora of Kopaonik numbering 109 plants. After that, in one of his next floristic contributions (Botanische Ergebnisse einer i.J. 1866 unternommenen Reise in Serbien), published in 1867, he reported another list enumerating 205 plants of Kopaonik. In 1869 he published his first and only paper dedicated to Kopaonik itself (Kopaonik and its Foothills and Spurs) In this paper Pancic writes: ” ...Allow me,.... to take you to one magnificent part of Serbia, which  I frequently and gladly toured to study its nature. Each time I found something new to see or admire, and I have never left it without wishing to return there once again, and this is – Kopaonik and its foothills and spurs.”    At the end of this short paper Pancic also quotes: “This is a short excerpt from my more comprehensive monograph of Kopaonik and its foothills and spurs, which I will, if God endows me with health, publish later”.

In his capital books Flora of the Principality of Serbia (Flora Knezevine Srbije,  published in 1874, and Supplement to the Flora of the Principality of Serbia (Dodatak Flori Knezevine Srbije), published in 1884, Pancic reported a host of data on the plants of Kopaonik.

Currently, in Pancic’s collection there are 749 preserved exsiccates of plants collected in the region of Mt Kopaonik. Among them are type specimens of the species Hieracium schultzianum Panc. et Vis.,  Koeleria eriostachya Panc., and Cardamine Pancicii Hayek, which have been described on the basis of the material collected by Pancic in Kopaonik