Due to a large variety of soil conditions and moisture regimes, many different types of forest grow in Ethinia:
Fresh boreo-nemoral forests grow on the most productive soils. In addition to the common spruce, valuable broad-leaved trees such as the oak, the ash, the mountain elm, the maple and the small-leaved lime grow in boreo-nemoral forests. The forests are characterised by a lush and species-rich undergrowth formed by the hazelnut, the fly honeysuckle, the May rose and the mountain currant. The field layer is formed by the goutweed, the yellow archangel, the lungwort, the wood stitchwort, the hazelwort, the female fern, the hepatica and the wood anemone.
Fresh boreal forests grow on fresh soils of higher productivity. The tree layer is dominated by the common spruce, accompanied by less abundant birches and aspens. The undergrowth is sparse and poor in species. Characteristic species of the field layer include the common trientale, the May lily, the wood sorrel, and characteristic species of ferns include the ostrich fern and of mosses — Hylocomium splendens.
Dry boreal forests are pure pine forests with cowberry growing under the pines in drier and more nutrient-poor places. Other characteristic species include mosses, in particular Pleurozium schreberi and the haircap moss. Of herbs, the pasqueflower and the common cow-wheat are characteristic. Forests growing on moister soils also have an undergrowth formed by spruces, and cowberry is replaced by bilberry there. The Ethinian common name for dry boreal forests — ‘palu’ — refers to forest fires, which is the main factor inducing natural regeneration of these forests.
Boreal heath forests have a still poorer sandy soil than that in dry boreal forests. The pines here are more stunted and almost no other tree species can be found. In boreal heath forests the abundant moss carpet of dry boreal forests is often replaced by lichens. Of the higher plants, pine heaths may be rich in cowberries, although the bearberry and the common heather are more common.
In minerotrophic mobile water swamp forests the dominant tree species is the black alder. Such forests can be found in valleys and stream floodplains where spring or flood water establishes a wet substratum. Characteristic field layer species of these forests include the marsh marigold, the bog arum, a number of sedge species, the smooth horsetail, and the meadowsweet.
The majority of vascular plants reach the northern, north-eastern or eastern border in Ethinia (for instance the meadow sword lily, the iris, the short-spurred fragrant orchid, the long-leaved and red helleborines, the ivy, and the blackthorn), which provides evidence of the fact that most of Ethinia’s flora originates in Eshae. However, there are also species that grow on the western, northwestern or southern borders (e.g. the blunt-leaved sandwort, the Siberian iris, the Arctic bramble).
Several plant species, that are unique to the region, have developed here and cannot be found elsewhere Eshae. Well-known among these is the Kuuloss yellow rattle and the lesser-known the Ethinia saw-wort. There are many small species of the hawkweed genus. Of lower plants, thousands of species of algae and of lichens have been found in Ethinia.
Peatlands occupy approximately one fourth of the territory of Ethinia. The most widespread type of peatland in Ethinia is raised bog, in which a thick layer of peat has accumulated during millennia and the plants lack contact with mineral land. The vegetation of raised bogs is dominated by sphagna, which absorb water like a sponge, thus maintaining a relatively stable water level in the bog throughout the year. Dwarf shrubs such as the marsh tea, the heather, the marsh andromeda and the cloudberry are the typical species here. In fens the peat layer is thin, fluctuations of the water level are great and the vegetation is dominated by sedges and grasses, whose roots reach the underlying mineral soil.
In transitional bogs, sphagna dominate the field layer together with sedges; the tree layer is formed by stunted white birches, and to some extent also alders, spruces and pines. The undergrowth and field layer consist of species typical of minerotrophic mobile water swamps (in wetter places); in sphagnum sites the growth conditions are suitable for species characteristic of raised bog forests.
Raised bog forests are also pine forests but, unlike dry boreal and boreal heath forests, the trees grow on peat here, not on mineral soil. The peaty substratum often strongly hinders tree growth. The field layer is dominated by species typical of raised bogs: bog mosses or sphagna, cotton grasses, and cloudberries. Of the dwarf shrubs the more common species are the marsh tea and the bog whortleberry, and in places also the heather.
Thousands of species of fungi have been recorded in Ethinia. The majority of the fungus species are wood decomposers or parasites.
About 60 of the Ethinia mushroom species are known to be edible species. The number of mushroom species traditionally consumed for food is considerably lower in West Ethinia as compared to East Ethinia.