The vegetation in Šumava is a typical example of the Central European highlands, although it also has specific characteristics, especially provided by the relative proximity of the Alps. Šumava itself, except for small stretches of the foothills, is not brimming over with a variety of natural conditions. The flora is therefore somewhat uniform, diversified rather by anthropogenic than by natural influences.

The initial deposit into the Šumava phytogene pool began in ancient times in the Earth's geological past. It therefore corresponds with Central European vegetation, dictated by the location, range of altitudes, climate and climate changes throughout the centuries.