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  • Writer's pictureDirk

It's in the detail, even in the mighty mountains

When i go to the mountains, i am of course impressed by their might, their beauty and their vastness. Many are! Despite being impressed by the loveliness of mountains, i am also paying attention to the living beings, which call mountains their home. There is actually much to see and beauty is always in the detail. So, take a closer look, it is worth the time!

There are of course the popular sights, such as some horses, the Isard, griffon vulture and the much rarer Lammergeier. Not everyone has the luck to see them, as often they come out when the masses have vanished or not yet arrived. Last year (2020), due to the pandemic, it was actually a good year to observe wildlife, as much less tourists rummaged in the mountains.

But when you keep your eyes open and more to the (forest) floor, you can see also very beautiful plants and insects. My favorite is the Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), which can be found hidden in the peat moss cushion of Sphagnum papillosum, sometimes entwined by cranberry (Oxycoccus palustris). It is just magnificent in its detail and color.

Then there is this flower without stems and leaves.... you can easily not see it, as it is found between fallen leaves of trees and shows its wonderful pinkish flowers in usually twilighty, shadowy places. If you look closer at the photo, you will actually also see quite many insects. It is the Purple Toothwort: Lathraea clandestina, a parasitic plant, parasitizing the roots of other plants, and hence not needing chlorophyll.

And finally, you can also see some insects and spiders, which have wonderful colors and forms. So, next time you go hiking, do not only pay attention to the beauty of the mountains, but also the small animals and plants left and right of your path and sometimes below your foot.

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