Dolomites 2015

The Dolomites, late June 2015
d15-1  Late June and early July are perfect for seeing the Dolomites flowers. A walk from the Pordoi Pass gives a quick introduction to the plants as well as fine views of Marmolada, the highest peak. d15-2  Pulsatilla alpina var. apiifolia was in full bloom, but Pulsatilla vernalis had long finished. d15-3  Gentiana acaulis is widespread in the alps, but its vivid colour always attracts attention. In the garden we can have flowers in every month of the year. d15-4  Primula halleri, with its distinctive long-tubed corolla.
d15-5  Eritrichium nanum, one of the most sought-after European alpines (but almost impossible to cultivate) grows right by the path. d15-6  Daphne cneorum is often detected first by its scent. d15-7  A visit to Val Monzoni started with a long walk through woods, where Moneses uniflora was a welcome find. It also occurs in Scotland, but only in a very few places. d15-8  The Monzoni valley has volcanic intrusions through the predominantly dolomite rock. Here you can walk up the boundary line, with plants to left and right almost completely different.
d15-9  High up, Ranunculus glacialis grows on rocks where little else survives. d15-10  The high meadows contained two primulas. Primula minima is very low, with bright pink flowers with divided petals. d15-11  Primula glutinosa has stems with several purple flowers ... d15-12  ... and occurs in vast numbers.
d15-13  Sometimes Primula minima and P. glutinosa grow together ... d15-14  ... and then the hybrid Primula x floerkeana can occur. It has the taller stems and multiple flowers characteristic of P. glutinosa, but the individual flowers resemble those of P. minima. d15-15  At the very top of the valley, just within a metre of the ridge line, Eritrichium nanum flourishes. d15-16  After overnight rain, the skies cleared for a wonderful walk all the way round Sassolungo.
d15-17  The descent from the pass is steep and rough, but has fine views to the west. d15-18  On the screes grows Thlaspi rotundifolium. The pink-flowered form is abundant, but there were a few plants of the rarer white-flowered form. d15-19  The sky remained clear all day, giving fine views of the Sella Group as we returned in the afternoon. d15-20  The short trip ended with a walk through the woods on Monte Alben, in the foothills of the Alps above Bergamo.
d15-21  Cyclamen europaeum was scattered through the woods, but never with many flowers. d15-22  The birds-nest orchid, Neottia nidus-avis, is usually found under beech trees. It doesn't have any chlorophyll, so it is dependent on associated fungi for its nutrition. d15-23  Lilium martagon was reasonably abundant, but Lilium bulbiferum was represented by just this one plant, with one flower. d15-24  Primula albenensis had finished flowering, but in the same rock crevices there were flowering plants of Physoplexis comosa.