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Trees and bushes

The main species present in the Drawa National Park is pine, which takes up 80% of the forest area. It creates dense forests and is accompanied by other trees, chiefly beech. Common beech creates the most beautiful forests in the Park, and takes up 9% of the forest area. Pines and beeches are accompanied by stalk and non-stalk oaks (3%). Meadow forests in river valleys and forests in swampy places are dominated by black alder (3%). In land depressions and around peatbogs we can see patches of dark spruce (1%). These basic forest species are accompanied by the ubiquitous birch, and the somewhat less common rowan. Wet spots hold the presence of some mixed-in ash, mountain elm, and stalk elm. On the river valley slopes grow patches of hornbeam. Sometimes willows, poplars, aspens, elms, linden, maple, and sycamores are mixed into the forest, as well.

The most popular shrubs are juniper and broom. They are connected to the somewhat less rich soils and accompany oaks and pines. In more fertile places, such as the so-called dry-ground communities, hazel is common. The wetland meadows hold the presence of May-blooming bird cherry. In the forest we can see many kinds of blackberry, raspberry, and currant. The thickets by forest-edges, in fields, and sporadically under loose woods are composed of sloe, hawthorn, black lilac, and the effective in autumn evonymus. In the warm communities we can see barberry and buckthorn, and in wet places: evonymous, guelder rose, dogwood, and alder buckthorn. In high peatbogs we will find the strongly smelling marsh-tea and mossy birch. In the well-head peatbogs and seldom in river valleys there are small patches of grey alder. The old human settlement are accompanied by lilacs, old apple-trees, pear-trees, and plum-trees. Along the roads and near settlements grow small- and large-leaved lindens, maples, sycamores, lilacs, and chestnut trees.

The very rare and deserving protection trees are service-tree and yew. Special care should be given to wild apple- and pear-trees. The stalk elm and mountain elm, as well as the field maple are becoming more and more rare in this area. One of the rarest shrubs is the swamp huckleberry. By Drawa and Płociczna we can find the very attractive protected sunningdale. Besides the native trees and shrubs we can see many fireign and human-imported species. Among them are the commonly known maples, but also these forest trees: Douglas spruce, red oak, larch, Weymouth pine, Pennsylvanian ash, fir, and cultivated poplars. The previously cultivated common locust has spread on its own everywhere. The forest undergrowth has been overtaken by American bird-cherry once grown by local forest managers, and in some place on Drawa we can find coral lilac. Near settlements and in hedges the wrinkled rose is common.

“The largest of all trees stood there. The smooth, mighty trunk sparkled with dark silver, shooting up high as a tower, and high above the ground was it spreading its first boughs covered with a shady dome of leaves.” This is how Tolkien described beeches in his novel, his description well befitting the beech forests of the Drawa Wilderness. Beech, the most beautiful of all the Drawa Wilderness trees, can be easily distinguished from other trees because of its characteristically smooth and silvery bark, and dark green, shiny, delicately fuzzy at the edges, leaves. Its characteristic triangular nuts are lodged in a wooded in a horned cover.
Beech doesn’t fruit heavily every year. The so-called seed years usually happen every 5-8 years being intermixed with the so-called deaf years, in which the beech nuts are very innumerous. The beech nuts and the periodically recurring moments of their abundance, are an important element for the functioning of the forest ecosystem, as they are a food supply for boar, stockdove, and the forest rodents. The beech nuts are also edible for humans. The locals prefer, however, to collect them and sell them to the forest ménages, who in turn will seed them to grow new beech specimen.

Beech is an important component of the forest environment for creating the practically homogeneous forests – the beech forests. Under natural circumstances, such forests undividedly dominated all the more fertile parts of the Drawa Wilderness.

The delicate spring-green of the young beech leaves and the singing of birds that inhabit beech forests are an inseparable element of spring at Drawa and Płociczna. The dark inside of a beech forest brings solace on a hot summer day. The golden and brown autumn leaves of beech forests, the falling “rain” of beech nuts, and the feeding boars complete the autumnal landscape. In the winter, the silver beech trunks contrast with the snowy-white ground, making for an unrepeatable sighting. The Radęcin range beeches that reach up to 47 metres in height are the tallest tress of this species known in the Polish lowlands. Beech forests, especially when old, as the one in Radęcin, reach the stock of 800m³/ha, being the richest of the lowland forest communities.

The tallest beeches of the Drawa Wilderness are in the Radęcin range. The thickest, branching out into several trunks, is one beech by Drawa near the Trzy Dęby rollway (525cm in girth) and one in a forest near Ostrowiec (475cm in girth). Connected to beeches are: the specific flora of lichen growing on their trunks, the epiphytic mosses, and the characteristic and rich fauna of insects inhabiting the wood. The beach forests stand out with their rich and interesting fungus flora, and fauna.
The non-stalk oak, besides the stalk oak, is a tree natural to the Drawa Wilderness area. It differs from the stalk oak in that the acorns are lodged directly on the branches, not on stalks, the leaves are of a more regular shape and usually a wedged base, and the bark has shallow and regular furrows. Usually it has a more slender shape and a taller trunk. This type of oak can grow on grounds less fertile and more dry than its relative, the stalk oak. It is a basic species of poorer oak forests, and a typical addition to beech forests. It’s the non-stalk oak that usually steps into the least fertile environments and accompanies there the common pine. Its narrow-ringed wood is one of the most precious wood materials and is priced higher than the stalk-oak wood.

The Drawa Wilderness is one of the national centers of the non-stalk oak presence. In the Radęcin range, the oaks reach nearly 50m. in height, and belong to the largest in Poland. The oak forests in Krzyż (slightly south of the DNP) are one of the best-quality oak forest in Poland.
Although the most famous in largest oaks in Poland are stalk oaks, many monumental species of the no-stalk oak remain the the Drawa Wilderness – besides the afore-mentioned ones in Radęcin, there are some in the Makowy Ostrów range near Łasko, and others.
Oak is a long-lived tree. In our climate conditions it lives, on average, up to 800 years.

The stalk oak is a handsome tree that can reach as much as 40 metres in height. It has a broad crown, usually a short trunk, and thick branches. The bark is dark and deeply furrowed. The leaves are leathery with 3-6 pairs of rounded valves, non-symmetrical, with very short stems. The flowers are small, double-sexed, growing on the same tree. Masculine flowers are green and fluffy, dangling, accumulated on stalks at the bases of new shoots. Feminine flowers are in groups of several, at the ends of the shoots. The fruits are acorns lodged in flat bowls on long stalks