National Preserve Vyšenské Hills

National nature preserve Vyšenské kopce National nature preserve Vyšenské kopce,geological exposition

Vyšenské Hills is one of the most valuable areas in the field of natural sciences in the entire South Bohemian region. The reserve contains a protected relict community of plants and animals on a limestone underground. Indeed, the effect of the limestone underground, reaching the highest possible surface area and impact on this site, has kept a series of significant plant species and entire communities which would be hard to find anywhere else in the South of Bohemia. We can name the following: anemone (Anemone sylvestris), selfheal (Prunella grandiflora), gentian (Gentiana cruciata), (Acinos arvensis) , upright brome (Bromus erectus), sedge (Carex michelii), speedwell (Veronica teucrium), common barberry (Berberis vulgaris), tufted milkwort (Polygala comosa), wood cow-wheat (Melampyrum nemorosum), wall spleenwort (Asplenium ruta-muraria), columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris), hawk's beard (Crepis praemorsa), germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) cut-leaf germander (T. botrys), helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium) and red helleborine (Cephalanthera rubra) among others. Of phytogeographical importance is the occurrence of those taxons which prove the historical floragenetical relation between thermophile flower life in South Bohemia and the Danube basin. Examples of these are: mullein (Verbascum austriacum), woodruff (Asperula glauca), (Libanotis pyrenaica), bloody crane's-bill (Geranium sanguineum), wild cotoneaster (Cotoneaster integerrimus), betony (Stachys recta) and others.

 Hellebore, foto: Václav Dolanský
On northern exposures closed shrubbery prevails, mainly formed by hazel (Corylus avellana), among which the small- and large-leaved lime (Tilia cordata, T. platyphyllos), Scottish maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), French oak (Quercus robur) and other deciduous trees are provided with positive growing conditions. The shady herb cover is dominated by characteristic kinds of communities original for deciduous woods: anemone (Hepatica nobilis), pea (Lathyrus vernus), comfrey (Symphytum tuberosum), dog's mercury (Mercurialis perennis), asarabacca (Asarum europaeum), columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris), Turk's-cap lily (Lilium martagon), masterwort (Astrantia major) and numerous other species. The prevailing soil type of this growth is limestone with a deep profile and a richly developed humus layer and brown soil in places.

Turk s cap lily, foto: Václav Dolanský Wild cottoneaster, foto: Václav Dolanský

Vyšenské Hills is a renowned place for mycologists, as over 300 fungi have been found in the reserve. Among the rarest are devil´s bolete (Boletus Suillus), bolete (Boletus radicans), (Clavariodelphus pistillaris), (Cortinarius cotoneus), (Inocybe adaequata), milk cap Lactarius citriolens, milk cap L. pinicola (Lactarius citriolens, L. pinicola), russula Russula aurea (Russula aurea), toadstool (Clitocybe inornata), (Tricholoma orirubens, T. terreum), blewit (Lepista irina), (Faerberia carbonaria), (Dichomitus campestris), bolete (Suillus fluryi) and many others. In the Vyšenské Hills National Nature Reserve we can find fauna of no lesser significance. The xerophyte and thermophile insect and mollusc representatives are particular ornaments of the area. The most striking are the butterflies: scarce swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius), swallowtail (Papilio machaon), wall brown (Lasiommata megaera), clouded yellow (Colias alfacariensis), dark green fritillary (Mesoacidalia aglaja), rose chafer(Cetonia aurata), dung beetle (Odontaeus armiger), also interesting are wasp (Polistes gallicus), antlion ((Myrmeleon formicarius)) and many others. Molluscs worth mentioning are Aegopis verticillus, Aegopinella minor, Truncatellina cylindrica, Vallonia pulchella, Macrogastra plicatula living on wet hillfoot slopes, (Helicigona lapicida) etc. The most interesting vertebrates in the reserve are the smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), and hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius).

Steppe is grown over by Berberidaceae, foto: Václav Dolanský

The probable historical development of the entire biotope is interesting. People, farming settlers came to Central Europe around 5,500 AD and brought a radical change in the development of civilisation (and landscape) - the Neolithic. Agricultural settlement in the Český Krumlov region, though, can be dated back more distinctively only to the older Bronze Age, i.e. about 2,000 AD. These people started to change the landscape more clearly to be able to grow crops and pasture herds of tame herbivores. These fields and pastures became like steppes. The rich and varied Vyšenské Hills communities could expand from the originally negligible forest-like steppe enclaves and maintain only due to the pasturing of sheep and goats, which must have been going on continuously at this place since the Bronze Age. The Vyšenské Hills National Nature Reserve, then, is both a natural and cultural monument, and it would be a mistake to understand it as an oasis of untouched nature.

National nature preserve Vyšenské kopce National nature preserve Vyšenské kopce

Further information :
Places of Interest in Český Krumlov
Places of Interest in the Český Krumlov Region
Description of Natural Conditions in the Český Krumlov Region


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