Green Alder Brushwood

The Green Alder (Alnus alnobetula) generally forms long persisting and very dense communities of 3-4 m height. Due to the large quantities of water required, the Green Alder can only survive in places where regular good water supply is available. These areas are generally too wet for the mountain forest or covered with snow for too long a period of time. Particularly on clay soils there is a strong tendency toward erosion on steep slopes, which means that the green alder plays an important role as soil rooter and pioneer. It is successfully employed as pioneering shrub during reforestation. The undergrowth consists of a motley mix of tall forbs depending on available sunlight and water.
Here the False Helleborine (Veratrum album), a lily plant, is particularly in evidence. It is a conspicuous, up to 1,50 metres tall plant with a leaved shaft consisting of leafy sheaths folded into each other. The leaves are deeply folded longitudinally and covered in felt underneath. The individual flowers are star-shaped funnels, white and positioned in a 50 cm long panicle. The False Helleborine is very poisonous and can easily be confused with the Yellow Gentian, from which it is distinguished by downy leaf undersides, and by the white inner root (the Gentian's is yellow) and the unpleasant smell of the root. Due to its poisonousness it is a much hated meadow weed, as calves, young goats and sheep frequently die of the effects. It is to be found in Europe, Asia and Japan.

Behind the small bridge we find a large collection of Rock Redcurrant (Ribes petraeum), a saxifrage plant. The bush that grows 2 metres tall has five lobed leaves which are up to 10 cm wide. The flowers are green and pink, in a hanging multi-flowered bunch. The red berries have a sour aroma to the taste, and are rich in vitamin c. The species is found in lime-free areas of Europe and Asia.

Green Alder Brushwood