Flora 2018-12-03T01:45:55+00:00

The phitoclimatic bands

The Reserve is characterized by the wealth of forests and the presence of a rich autochthonous flora that represents a heritage of remarkable scientific value, also in terms of biodiversity. There are also many species known as officinal herbs. The floristic richness of the Reserve is linked in large part to the succession of the three main phytoclimatic zones, which are identifiable in Calabria as follows: Lauretum (with hot and cold subzones), Castanetum and Fagetum.

The phytoclimatic band of the hot Lauretum coincides with the areas located at lower altitudes, close to the coast, such as the area of Valli Cupe, the basal slopes of Raga Mount, Barbaro, and the low part of Campanaro. Here the climate is hot-arid, with long dry and arid summers . The vegetation is typical of the Mediterranean areas of the Ionian side: low stain, garrigue or steppe prairie. The most widespread type of evergreen forest is the oleo-lentisceto, often capable of giving rise to enchanting woods – where disturbing factors do not intervene – partly prevalent of wild olive (Olea europea oleaster) and partly prevalently of lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus). In the whole area falling into the phytoclimatic zone of the hot Lauretum it is not rare to find isolated and majestic examples of oak (Quercus virgiliana and Quercus pubescens).

The phytoclimatic band of the cold Lauretum extends on average above 300 and up to 700 meters above sea level. Although the transgression of species from one phytoclimatic zone to another is frequent and always possible, in the cold Lauretum there is the prevalence of species more adaptable to a climate that gradually becomes less drier, more fresh and humid. The dominant plant formation is the evergreen forest (high scrub, from 5 to 12 meters) made of Mediterranean oak trees with cork (Quercus suber) up to 800 meters above sea level and holly oak (Quercus ilex), often associated with the amphorae (Fraxinus ornus), which in the valleys goes up to 1,200 meters above sea level.

Although certainly colder and wetter than the Lauretum, the phytoclimatic band of Castanetum is still strongly subject to the Mediterranean influence. The forest vegetation is characterized by the widespread presence of the chestnut (Castanea sativa) and the deciduous oaks such as the Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) and the English oak (Quercus robur).

The phytoclimatic band of the Fagetum is very reduced in the Reserve. It embraces the northern body of the Crocchio River and has more continental climatic characteristics due to its exposure to the north (cold temperate climate), with presence of frigid temperatures in winter and rainfall in summer.

The rare species

Among the species of greatest scientific concern the following ones need to be mentioned: the Woodwardia radicans, a real living fossil of tropical origin; the Pterid of Crete, another species of relict fern of the ancient tropical flora; the Cheilanthes Marantae, reported in southern Italy only in the Valli Cupe Reserve area; Osmunda regalis, a species of oceanic fern, also very old. Among the rarest endemism it needs to be remembered the pearl grass of Calabria with a very reduced concentration in the area of the Crocchio River.

Regarding the vegetation, among the habitats considered in the annex to Directive 92/43/ EEC, it shall be remembered the evergreen holly oak forest, the evergreen cork forest, a rare forest of oriental plane tree, an equally rare laurel grove and the forests of black pine of the Sila Mountain which is an endemic typology of Calabria.

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