Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area

Forest vegetation

In the Jeseníky mountains, in the upper 7th  and 8th forest vegetation zones, the climax spruce forests are relatively well conserved and have a primeval character in places, accompanied by rowan (Sorbus aria), a rich shrub layer and well developed herbal undergrowth and moss layer. Dominant species include hairy small-reed (Calamagrostis villosa), great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) or blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). Other common species include purple coltsfoot (Homogyne alpina), interrupted clubmoss (Lycopodium annotinum), claspleaf twisted-stalk (Streptopus amplexifolius), chickweed wintergreen (Trientalis europaea) or sphagnum mosses. A significant but rare forest community is the primary spruce rorests (with ferns) where the undergrowth includes Alpine lady fern (Anthyrium distentifolium), blue sow thistle (Cicerbia alpina), the Austrian leopardsbane Doronicum austriacum, broad bucklerfern (Dryopteris dilatata) and others. In the 9th altitudinal forest zone at the highest  elevations we can only find isolated clumps of dwarf Norway spruce (Picea abies) and the artificially introduced and non-indigenous dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo).

The peaty spruce forests at Rašeliniště Skřítek are very valuable and at Rejvíz the peaty spruce growths form a unique complex together with bog pine forests.

Today, beechwoods with sycamore are very rare, unlike in the distant past. Remnants of this original biotope have survived mostly on the steep slopes around stream springs at the supra-montane vegetation level. Alongside European beech (Fagus sylvatica), the presence of sycamore (Acer psedoplatanus) and Norway spruce is characteristic. The herb layer includes hedge-garlic adenostyle (Adenostyles alliariae), blue sow thistle (Cicerbia alpina), common monkshood (Aconitum plicatum), marsh hawksbeard (Crepis paludosa), white butterbur (Petasites albus) and large white buttercup (Ranunculus platanifolius).

Acidophilous beechwoods can be found on localities with oligotrophic minerals representing a stage of degradation of the herb-rich beech forests and at the transition between beechwoods and mountain spruce forests. In the tree layer we can find European beech and Norway spruce and in the undergrowth the predominant species are hairy small-reed (Calamagrostis villosa), reed-grass (Calamagrostis arundinacea), broad bucklerfern (Dryopteris dilatata) and blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus).

Herb-rich beech forests and fir–beech forests are found in Jeseníky up to an elevation of 1 000 metres above sea level. The tree composition is dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica) complemented by sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), wych elm (Ulmus glabra) and the very rare silver fir (Abies alba). Typical species under the trees include coralroot (Dentaria bulbifera), nine-leaved toothwort (Dentaria enneaphyllos), baneberry (Actaea spicata), rattlesnake root (Prenanthes purpurea), sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) and wood fescue (Festuca altissima). Herb-rich beech forests now only exist on small areas and are much rarer than they were in the past.