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Bieszczadzki PN arrow Flora - the vascular plants

Flora - the vascular plants
The Eastern Carpathians, the Bieszczady mountains included, attracted the attention of naturalists as early as in the 19th century. The first, very sketchy accounts were published in papers on the flora of Galicia by Wilibald Besser in 1809. More detailed data were provided by later studies of J.A. Knapp (1868, 1872), and particularly those of B. Kotula and E. Woloszczak at the end of the 19th century. B. Kotula, a upper secondary school teacher from Przemysl, published in 1883 the results of his investigations in the basin of the upper Strwiaz and San rivers. He recorded several hundred plant species, including many very interesting and rare, particularly alpine species.
E. Woloszczak visited the same region a decade later in the course of a systematic floristic survey of the Eastern Carpathians. His studies covered the area between the upper San and the Oslawa rivers and were published in 1894. These provided the rationale for the proposed phytogeographical dividing line between the Western and Eastern Carpathians from the £upkowska pass, running north along the Oslawa and San rivers (Woloszczak 1908).

In the period between two world wars, the area of Bieszczady did not attract much interest from the naturalists, as the high summits of the Czarnohora and Czywczynskie mountain ranges were far more interesting. The interest in this area increased markedly in the early 1950s. Systematic work started on forests, meadows and peat-bogs, and floristic searches were conducted in various plant groups. It resulted in many fundamental papers pertaining to mosses (Lisowski 1956), lichens (Glanc, Tobolewski 1960), vascular plants (Jasiewicz 1965), and fungi (Domanski 1964, Domanski et al. 1960, 1963, 1967, 1970). The history of the vegetation cover in this part of the Carpathians was studied by Ralska-Jasiewiczowa (1980), whereas the issues of plant geography were studied e.g. by Pawlowski (1972) and Zemanek (1991 a, b, 1992).

Detailed studies on the flora of the Bieszczady National Park were carried out from 1993–96. The inventory of vascular plants was performed in a grid of squares 1 x 1 kilometre, using the methodology adopted for the in Distribution atlas of vascular plants in Poland (ATPOL) (Zajac A., Zajac M. [eds] 2001, Zemanek 1993). The results were included in an unpublished report for the Park (Zemanek et al. MS.) and in a floristic note reporting newly found taxa (Zemanek et al. 1996). A paper on the whole flora of vascular plants in the Bieszczady National Park is published in the “Bieszczady Monographs” (Zemanek, Winnicki 1999).

The results of the floristic studies of the 1950s and 1960s, documenting the great wealth and uniqueness of the Bieszczady flora were used as arguments to support the cause for establishing the Park in 1973.

The vascular plants are the best studied group of plants in the Bieszczady National Park. In the whole Western Bieszczady ca. 850 were noted while in the Polish part of the Eastern Carpathians ca. 1100 species (Zemanek 1991a). At present, ca. 780 species are reported to occur in the Park and this number increases with intensified studies. The species added to the list are mainly those associated with the activities of Man (weeds, ruderal plants). Some findings were unexpected and surprising, such as the finding in 1996 of a station with alpine larkspur Delphinum elatum, a subalpine species, whose nearest stations are located at Bor¿awa, some 60 kilometres to the south-east.

Apart from new findings there are some species which disappeared. As a result of irresponsible collectors’ activities it is highly probable that an extremely rare long-flowered primrose Primula longiflora (=P. hallerii) that once occurred in the area has now disappeared for ever. Several species are seriously threatened due to intensive tourist traffic and the trampling on the summit regions of the Tarnica and Halicz summits, the rocky crests of the Smerek, Polonina Caryñska, Polonina Wetliñska and Rozsypaniec. These are locations with the most valuable components of high mountain flora.

The taxa representing the eastern element confirm the classification of the Bieszczady mountains within the Eastern Carpathians and are the unique feature which distinguish the Bieszczady National Park from all other Polish national parks. There are 30 such taxa, including 6 Eastern Carpathian endemic species: white cow-wheat Melampyrum saxosum — occurring in the subalpine zone of the Kinczyk Bukowski and on the Polonina Bukowska summits, Eastern Carpathian monkshood Aconitum lasiocarpum, fairly common throughout the area, dwarf monkshood A. bucovinense, one of the rarest plants in Poland, occurring on only four stations and not exceeding several dozen in number, Carthusian pink Dianthus carthusianorum subsp. saxigenus, occurring on the rocks of the Krzemieñ and Bukowe Berdo summits, and probably, Turkul lady’s mantle Alchemilla turkulensis, found in tall-herb communities on the poloninas. Among the interesting East-Carpathian plant species, the following can be found on poloninas: Kotschy’s knapweed Centaurea kotschyana, Eastern Carpathian thistle Cirsium waldsteinii, compact pink Dianthus compactus, rose vipergrass Scorzonera rosea, and Dacian violet Viola dacica. In forests, scopolia Scopolia carniolica and stoloniferous bellflower Campanula abietina can be found, while in spring the alder woods upon the Terebowiec and Wo³osaty brooks show white carpets of the flowering spring snowflake Leucoium vernum subsp. carpaticum.

Most of the taxa classified in the eastern element reach the limits of their distribution ranges in the Park or in the Bieszczady mountains as such, only a few also occur further west in the Western Carpathians.



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