Rečkov National Nature Monument

The Rečkov NNM was declared in 1949 on an area of 3.45ha to protect this locality where the Siberian leopard plant (Ligularia sibirica) grows. The national nature monument is a part of the Rečkov Site of Community Importance.

The protected area lies in the Středočeský kraj – Central Bohemian Region between the villages of Velký Rečkov and Nová Ves near Bakov nad Jizerou at elevations of around 220 metres above sea level.

The geological basement is built of Cretaceous (limey) sandstones, on top of which water-filled alluvial sediments with a predominance of sandy elements have developed. The majority of the protected area lies on the alluvial plain of the naturally-meandering Rokytka, which has formed a number of side streams- either flowing or as oxbow lakes. Due to the waterlogged character of the locality the soil covering is of Organic soil, Gley and Fluvisol.

The area which includes the national nature monument is a sandstone valley with a flat floor, which makes it a part of the sandstone phenomena. The valley around the Rokytka stream is characterized by its balanced flow gradient and its very flat and permanently waterlogged alluvial plain (both along the flow and perpendicular to it) with numerous supplementary springs, abundant sedimentation of fenny or peaty material and the absence of typical flood loams, which are replaced by much sandier materials with lower nutrient levels. The Rokytka flows (straight) across a completely flat alluvial plain, which is strongly aquiferous, with predominantly fenny sedimentation. In some places the fenny layer is only shallow (0.3m) with sand or sandy fen peat underneath. The opposite extreme are places with accumulations of up to 1.45m of fenny subaquatic material of the “gyttja” type. This extremely varied profile forms a mosaic across the whole width of the alluvial plain, regardless of the distance from the stream, and is a reflection of the rich meandering and branching of the flow with the formation of small permanent pools or only puddles. The edge of the alluvial plain on the left bank is visibly wet. Flood loams predominate here, but fen peat accumulations or “gyttja” can also be found in places. This composition is reflected in the vegetation. Almost all of the territory, except for the fringes, are a mosaic of wetland biotopes. The majority of the protected area is covered with alder carrs (Carici acutiformis-Alnetum), stream vegetation along the Rokytka with the hybrid water-cress (Nasturcium x sterile) or lesser water parsnip (Berula erecta) and spring area vegetation with large bittercress (Cardamine amara). The herb layer in the alder stands is not of a high species diversity and contains mostly tall sedges such as lesser pond sedge (Carex acutiformis), slender tufted-sedge (Carex gracilis) and bladder sedge (Carex vesicaria), which are joined here by a few other species such as the green figwort (Scrophularia umbrosa), marsh horsetail (Equisetum palustre), milk parsley (Peucedanum palustre), marsh fern (Thelypteris palustris) and the skullcap (Scutelaria galericulata). Tall sedge communities (Magniocaricion) which have developed in places with permanently stagnating water include an abundance of greater tussock sedge (Carex paniculata) and rarely the fibrous tussock sedge (Carex apropinqua). The tree layer is dominated by alder (Alnus glutinosa) but we can also find grey alders (Alnus incana) which were planted here.

The most valuable part of the monument is the fen meadow where orchids such as the broad-leaved marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), marsh helleborine (Epipactis palustris) and common twayblade (Listera ovata) can be found. Other notable plant species on the meadow include the marsh valerian (Valeriana dioica), broad-leaved cotton-grass (Eriophorum latifolium), the carnivorous round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotudifolia), grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), blunt-flowered rush (Juncus sunodulosus) and the small fern-adderstongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum). The most significant plant growing here is the Siberian leopard plant (Ligulara sibirica), which grows on the forest-free fen but can also be found in the open alder stands or fringe communities and also in the sparse reedbeds. This species remains sterile when it is shaded. Siberian leopard plants flower in late summer and their seeds ripen in September. In addition to the species already mentioned, many sedges which are typical for low sedge communities (Caricion davalliana) can also be found here, including davall sedge (Carex davalliana), carnation sedge (Carex panicea) and the yellow sedge (Carex lepidocarpa = viridula). The fen meadow is most endangered by the spread of reeds and alders and for this reason the grass must be cut regularly.

A strong population of the small gastropod – Desmoulin’s whorl snail (Vertigo moulinsiana) can be found at Rečkov NNM, which is considered to be a relict species like the Siberian leopard plant. Typical spiders at the monument include the wolf spider Hygrolycosa rubrofascidata and the dwarf spiders Saaristoa abnormis and Taranuctus setosus. Birds such as the water rail (Rallus aquaticus) and river warbler (Locustella fluviatilis) may be observed in the wetland growths.