Beautiful flora in mild mountains...
The Kaczawa Mountains (in Polish Góry Kaczawskie) are situated in the SW Poland, NE of the largest city of the region, Jelenia Góra. They are the most northern range of Sudetes. From the Karkonosze Mts. they are separated by an Intra-Sudetic fault. The second northern fault forms a border between these mountains and an adjacent Silesian depression at a level of ca 400 m a.s.l. and called the Kaczawa Foreland. These mountains have a mild climate and good soils on which an interesting flora exists. Slopes up to low summits are overgrown by anthropogenic spruce forests introduced by Germans in the XIXth century. However, in many places we can find a natural primeval vegetation in the form of fertile warm beech forests including also oaks, sycamores, limes and birches with many annual plants and herbs in their undergrowth. An original vegetation of warm dolomite slopes or basaltic outcrops is protected in many reserves of nature. The largest one there is a reserve called “Buki Sudeckie” situated north of the Nowe Rochowice village, between Bolków and Mysłów. Here, in a beautiful beech forest valuable plants like Daphne mezereum, Lilium martagon and Galanthus nivalis grow. In the Landscape Park “Chełmy” situated in the eastern part of the Kaczawa Foreland an acid oak forest together with Taxus baccata and Sorbus torminalis is protected. Others reserves having the rich vegetation are as follows:
“Ostrzyca Proboszczowicka”, a past volcano with a dwarf forest on the summit. Here on a basalt bottom there are also growing other original plants and mushrooms.
“Buczyna Storczykowa na Białych Skałach” (Orchid Beech Forest on White Rocks) where several species of orchids are the most valuable components. In the Kaczawa Mts. 23 species of orchids were noted.
“Góra Miłek” overgrown by a beautiful beech forest with a rich undergrowth.
“Wąwóz Myśliborski” (Myślibórz Ravine) with a beautiful, rich stand of a fern, Phyllitis scolopendrium.
Rich populations of a rare species, Helleborus viridis, were lately described by Paweł Kwiatkowski between Nielestno and Płoszczyna villages. This plant grows in the moist forests along streams together with other species like Carex pendula, Veronica montana, Allium ursinum, Mercurialis perennis, Bromus ramosus, Galanthus nivalis, Leucojum vernum and Ribes alpinum.
These beautiful and warm mountains are still penetrated by naturalists to find other valuable areas for protection, e.g. a flora of “Góra Wapienna” (SW of the Płoszczyna village) is now presented in details by Kamila Reszczyńska to include this object into the areas of “Natura 2000”.
Agricultural man’s activity reached up to summits and therefore such artificial ecosystems are here extensive. Fields, meadows and pastures are still cultivated, however, many fields are changed now into meadows, sometimes renaturalized.
These natural reserves are located in the several subranges of the Kaczawa Mts.:
1. The Northern Range (Grzbiet Północny) having in the eastern rocky part the highest mountain called Okole (714 m a.s.l.).
2. The Southern Range (Grzbiet Południowy) with its highest mountain called Folwarczna (720 m a.s.l.) and located in the Maślak Massif. In this range are the reserves “Buczyna Storczykowa na Białych Skałach” and “Góra Miłek”. The Lead Mountains called in Polish “Góry Ołowiane” lying most southerly near the Bóbr River are also included into the Southern Range.
3. The Small Range (in Polish Grzbiet Mały) with a characteristic cone of Stromiec Mt. (551 m a.s.l.) with some populations of Helleborus viridis and “Góra Wapienna”.
4. The Eastern Range (Grzbiet Wschodni) with polymetallic mineralizations in the Żeleźniak Massif (664 m a.s.l.) with the“Buki Sudeckie” reserve.
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