limestone scree

Limestone screes are a characteristic habitat of some parts of the Trieste (Val Rosandra) and Slovenian Karst (Mount Nanos, Trnovo Forest).

The main features include the steep and unstable terrain, the absence of a developed soil, the scarcity of water and nutrients as well as the intense exposure to the elements.

These are tough and inhospitable habitats for plant germination and therefore contain a range of species with adaptations related to these difficult conditions. The thin vegetation cover, typical of this type of habitat, reflects the stony demanding conditions in its morphological structure and spatial distribution.

Only herbaceous plants and small shrubs are able to grown in these areas. The few tree species that manage to take root have a reduced vertical development, almost shrubby in character and the herbaceous species have very long roots to enable them to obtain water as well as reduced leaf size and tomentose (woolly) leaf surface to reduce transpiration.

The karst screes are also home to rare endemic flora such as Festuca spectabilis subsp. carniolica, Drypis spinosa subsp. jacquiniana and Buckler Mustard Biscutella laevigata subsp. hispidissima. There are also particularly impressive species such as Pyramidal Bellflower Campanula pyramidalis as well as less conspicuous ones such as Shining Bedstraw Galium lucidum, Common Houseleek Sempervivum tectorum and the broom Genista holopetala, an Illyrian endemic.

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