The flora of Bohemian Switzerland

Bohemian Switzerland mostly consists of sandstones, with the soil being too poor for plant growth. Despite this fact, a number of interesting species can be found in the area.

A unique phenomenon occurs in the deep gorges and canyons - the so-called “climatic inversion”, in which the cold air is collected at the bottom of the gorge and the rock tops are warmed up significantly. It is due to this climatic inversion that we can find in relatively low altitudes subalpine or alpine plant species, such as thestiff clubmoss, a remnant of the prehistoric era, or the yellow-flowered twoflower violet. The typical representatives of trees in this location include theNorway spruce and the now rare silver fir

The shade of the cliffs and the small mires help hide themarsh tea, the symbol of Bohemian Switzerland, from the visitors’ eyes. These sites are also ideal for the small cranberry, harestail cottongrass or the inconspicuous chickweed wintergreen. The dry tops of the rocks are covered in heath, cranberry and mainly blueberry shrub. Even the most inaccessible sites and cliff tops are not an obstacle for the Scots pine, which can resist even adverse conditions. 

More plant species occur along the water courses (the Kamenice and Křinice Rivers). There is the beautiful messenger of spring – the protected spring snowflake, a fern species with the fitting name of ostrich fern, and another reminder of our planet’s history, the shady horsetail

The jewels of the nature of Bohemian Switzerland also include the broad-leaved marsh-orchid. A widespread flower adding colour to the greenery of the frontier forests is the curativefoxglove

Forests, whose composition has been significantly altered by human interference, are the predominant vegetation of Bohemian Switzerland. While theNorway spruceis most typical tree nowadays, the original forests were dominated by the Scots spine, common beech and silver fir. Imported tree species also occur in the area, of which thewhite pine causes particular damage to the herb tier and is therefore being replaced with the original species. 

The rocks and humid climate provide an ideal environment for moss and lichens. On the rocks, tree stumps or freely on the ground we can recognise about a hundred various moss species – not only peat moss ones, but also the haircap moss, white moss or the rare Brown’s tetrodontium moss

The damp cliff walls used to be home for the tunbridge filmy fern, which is abundant in England and NW France. Unfortunately, this mysterious visitor from the West seems to have disappeared from Bohemian Switzerland, probably also due to active collectors who picked it to be pressed in herbaria.