Monday 22 February 2016

Early botany

Helleborus niger - a common (and protected) species in Slovenia, found especially in mountain forests of beech, spruce and fir. Now in full bloom throughout the forests of the Notranjska region (pics from mt. Slivnica and Cerkniško jezero).

Helleborus odorus - a much plainer (and commoner) version of the previous. Also protected in Slovenia, like all the other Helleborus species. This one is usually found in more open habitats, like woodland margins and meadow. Pic from Cerkniško jezero.

Erythronium dens-canis (Dog's-tooth-violet) - a quite common flower found in woodland and forest throughout Slovenia. Found the first flowering specimens of the season today (Slov. Karst).

Hacquetia epipactis (Astrantia epipactis) - a quintessential spring presence in the forests of Slovenia. Named after Balthasar Hacquet (1735-1815) who lived and botanised in Carniola (part of today's Slovenia) and collected this interesting species. Pic taken on the Slovenian Karst, where it is locally common.

Hepatica nobilis - very common early-spring woodland flower.

Ilex aquifolium (Holly) - an uncommon (but well-known) forest species with evergreen leaves and beautiful red berries in winter. Photographed on mt. Slivnica (Notranjska region).

Daphne laureola - one of the six species of this genus in Slovenia. In comparison to the others, it is the only one with small greenish flowers that can go easily unnoticed. It is very poisonous like all other Daphne species.

Tussilago farfara - common early-spring flower, especially on roadside banks, wasteland and gravelly places.

Cardamine enneaphyllos on the bottom of a karstic doline - Orleška draga near Sežana (Slovenian Karst).

Mercurialis perennis in flower (Orleška draga, Sežana).

Pulmonaria officinalis - another very common spring species.

Not only hazels have catkins! These are alder's Alnus glutinosa. Last year's female "cones" are on the same twigs as well.

Looks like I can't wander around the Karst without stumbling on a Middle Spotted Woodepcker Dendrocopos medius. I'm currently co-organizing a systematic census of the species in W Slovenia, to carry on in March.