Friday, May 6, 2011

Mont Blanc Flora

Spring Gentian

After the winter that never really happend the way it should have we half expected a cold snap to take us away from the warm sense of security. However May is now upon us and the bench mark of the 10th May is fast approaching when the locals say it is safe to plant seeds and young plants without risk of frost in the valley. On the other hand on the mountain spring sprung a long time ago, the lack of snow meant that sunny slopes revealed green pastures and spring flora at least 4 weeks ahead of schedule. 

First to be seen was the Hepatica closely followed by Spring & Trumpet Gentian, Field Crocus, White Alpine Pasqueflower and Meadow Saffron.

White Alpine Pasqueflower

These early plants as with all alpine flora have adapted specifically to there habitat regardless of good or bad winters and early spring conditions. Stunted growth allows maximum use of any warmth in the ground and being close to the ground offers protection from harsh winds and low temperatures at night. Not only has the height adapted the structure of the plant has changed as well. Many alpine varieties have developed furry, spongy or hairy exteriors in order to hold solar heat and insulate from cold harsh conditions. Other plants have have become waxy and leathery to touch promoting water replacement as well as making the plant tough and durable. This adaptation is called Nanism. Alpine plants also have adapted large root systems in order to take maximum water and nutrients out of the soil as well as giving the plants a firm anchor. Alpine plants enjoy longevity with some species known to live upto 80 years. 

Trumpet Gentian

As the flowers in your garden change as the season progresses the alpine flora is constantly changing as well, what you will see in May will be different to that in July. For more information on alpine flora see the following link:

Alpine Flora:

Alpine Pasqueflower

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