Bavarian Forest
National Park

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Soldanella Montana (Photo: Sven Zellner)

There are 2502 native and 361 non-native known fern and flowering plants in Bavaria. With around 760 identified vascular plant species the Bavarian Forest National Park in comparison hosts a relatively small number. Just 425 species can be regarded as typical of this landscape with its dense forests, mires and rock formations. The others can thank their spread to past changes in the landscape made by people farming.

This does not mean that the national park does not have any particularities. There are some species in the area normally found in arctic or alpine regions, which can be regarded as relics of the ice age, such as mignonette-leaved bittercress (cardamine resedifolia), nutant willowherb (epilobium nutans), Carex paupercula, or Alpine Clubmoss (Diphasiastrum alpinum). The other five species of alpine club moss (D. tristachyum, D. complanatum, D. issleri, D. zeilleri, D. oellgaardi) can also be found in the area. The leathery moonwort (Botrychium multifidum), a very weak small fern, is currently only to be found in the national park, and is one of the most endangered species in the whole of Europe!

In contrast to the lack of species diversity among fern and flowering plants the diversity in mosses is extraordinary. With around 490 species 42% of the known mosses in Germany have been identified in the national park and the influence of people on the landscape has played a much smaller role. The vast majority of these species can be regarded as natural to these low mountains. The dynamic changes in the landscape, which have been happening for many years through the ageing and natural decay of forests, mean that a growth in species diversity can be expected. In the past years some remarkable first finds for the Bavarian Forest, and even for the whole of Bavaria, have been made.