Monday, 25 May 2015

Trnovski gozd, orchids and botanising

Primula carniolica
Today I attended a botanical excursion to Trnovski gozd (Trnovo forest) and its southern edge. It was a great trip with a lot of interesting and rare plants. The area lies in a biogeographic region where different types of flora meet: in one place you can find plants from the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and central Europe growing together. Below there's a selection of the most interesting of those seen today, mostly representing the Alpine floristic elements.
Primula carniolica - endemic plant of the NW Dinaric mountains (only found in Slovenia).
Anemone trifolia
Pinguicula alpina - frequently sharing the same wet and cold rocky habitats with Primula carniolica.
Clematis alpina
Daphne cneorum: a rare and protected species with a fragrant smell.
Viola biflora
Euphorbia triflora subsp. triflora - the southern edge of Trnovski gozd is the only place where this species is found in Slovenia.
Gentiana clusii
Paederota lutea
Aquilegia nigricans
Veratrum album
Petasites paradoxus
Leontodon incanus
Ranunculus platanifolius
Beech forest with Allium ursinum in the undergrowth.

The botanical day was rounded up with a few very good bird sightings. Among them was this nice female Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus; first heard drumming and then watched well for more than half an hour.
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus, female.
Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula, male.

I was also happy to see that the Lesser Grey Shrikes Lanius minor have returned to the Vipava valley in good numbers: 4-5 individuals were present today and were very vocal (parrot-like calls). In the sky about 10 Red-footed Falcons Falco vespertinus were hunting insects.

Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor

And now to the orchids. The wider area of Trieste and part of western Slovenia is a particularly good region for orchids. In the past two weeks I managed to see several different species, some of them are particularly interesting. Let the photographs speak...
Himantoglossum adriaticum - probably the oddest orchid to be found in Europe. A typical Mediterranean species found rarely also in the interior of Slovenia and other European countries. It is common in Istria (Croatia) as well as parts of the Slovenian coast. Note the tongue-shaped labellum, which gave the species name. Photographed near Koper, Slovenia.
Ophrys apifera, Trieste.
Ophrys holosericea, Trieste.
Ophrys insectifera, Mt.Čaven, Slovenia.
Orchis (Anacamptis) coriophora subsp. fragrans, Trieste.
Serapias vomeracea, Trieste.
Anacamptis pyramidalis, Trieste.
Orchis militaris, Slovenian Karst.
Orchis (Neotinea) ustulata, Slovenian Karst.
Neotinea tridentata, Slovenian Karst.
Cephalanthera longifolia, Slovenian Karst.
Limodorum abortivum, Trieste.
Listera ovata, Trieste Karst.
Neottia nidus-avis, Slovenian Karst. A common woodland orchid, lacking chlorophyll and living in simbiosis with a fungi. Note: possible confusion with species of the genus Orobanche (not orchids).

And to round up the post another selection of non-orchid plant species, present at this time of year around the Karst. There's hardly any better time for botany than now...
Iris graminea
Lathyrus venetus
Melittis melissophyllum (left) and Galeobdolon luteum (right).
Dictamnus albus
Ornithogalum sphaerocarpum
Actaea spicata
Thalictrum aquilegiifolium
Onosma javorkae (dalmatica)
Spartium junceum with the city of Trieste in the background.