Flora & fauna

Natural beauty and diversity beyond compare

Orchids

The Styrian Eisenwurzen Nature & Geopark impresses nature lovers with rare orchid species. Due to its extraordinary appearance, this highly developed and sensitive plant species has always had an enchanting effect on humans. Feel free to admire and photograph all orchids in the Nature Park, but please, do not touch them. They are under protection and may not be removed from their habitat.

Endemics

The high number of endemic plants, i.e. plant species that occur in one region of the world exclusively, is a special trait of the North-eastern Limestone Alps. The callianthemum anemonoidese is one of these endemic plants. If you want to spot the callianthemum anemonoidese flower, make sure you plan your trip in early spring. It blossoms before its leaves are fully developed and prefers fresh, rocky meadows, gravel fields on lower slopes close to streams and sparse forests. You can discover them when hiking through the Spitzenbach Gorge.

Rock and scree flora

The most natural nuances can be detected in the alpine region of the Nature Park. The landscape is marked by a mix of crevice vegetation, scree plant communities, alpine grassland and dwarf shrub communities with mountain pine fields. Auricula (Primula auricula), also known as primula balbisii, is the plant that typically grows in limestone crevices. Depending on the altitude, its golden yellow flowers can be spotted from April to July. A part of the primrose family, the primula auricula is also known as an ancient medicinal plant used as a remedy for coughs and lung ulcers.

Idyllic alpine pastures

As a part of the cultural landscape of mountain farming, the Nature Park’s alpine pastures are wonderful destinations for day hikes. Historically speaking, the scope of alpine pasture farming used to be tremendous. In addition to lower alpine pastures that are still used for grazing cattle today, there used to be high altitude pastures. However, these pastures no longer have grazing rights due to forestry and hunting. Nonetheless, a great number of alpine pastures in the Nature Park is still used for grazing. The most typical components of alpine pastures are nardus stricta, white helleboremonk's rhubarbarnica montanamonkshood and stemless carline thistle.

Magnificent forests

Dominant forest communities of the area are spruce woods, spruce-fir woods and spruce-fir-beech woods. In spring, you can see Christmas roses appear on the resurfacing forest slopes, which are joined shortly after by daphnes, different buttercup species, coltsfoot, liverleaf and wood anenomes. What makes these ravine forests fascinating is how original and natural they are. The existence of pine forests (e.g. the Spitzenbach Gorge or the Palfau Wasserloch Gorge) is especially worth mentioning. While pine woods used to make up the predominant forest community in the region during Preboreal time, they are considered relictual populations today.

Valley meadows and pastures

Cultivated landscapes and idyllic villages are the typical features of the valleys here. In these areas, the main features of the landscape are meadows with pastures, traditional orchards and unfavourably located forests unsuitable for agricultural use. Due to its natural and climatic conditions, the region’s main agricultural activities are grassland farming including dairy farming, calf rearing and forest management. In addition to this, remains of floodplains and moorland occur.