The plants


AA-46Com­mon Car­line Thistle
Car­li­na vulgaris
AA-47Crest­ed cow-wheat
Melampyrum cristatum
AA-48Fringed Gen­tian
Gen­tianel­la ciliata

The pro­tect­ed site of the Aar­nescht has a wide range of dif­fer­ent rare botan­i­cal species. Until today about 171 defined rare species, of those 43 are endan­gered and pro­tect­ed species of the red list, could be detect­ed. Thanks to the per­fect con­di­tions of the site (dry­ness, pal­try soil, rich in lime), the semi arid grass­lands of the Aar­nescht are par­tic­u­lar­ly favourable to rare botan­i­cal species.



Bee orchid
Lady orchid
Pyra­mi­dal orchid 
Man orchid


On the Aar­nescht a large num­ber of dif­fer­ent kinds of orchids can be found. 23 dif­fer­ent species could be indexed, which rep­re­sents 64 % of the nation­al orchid occurrence.

Propagation strategies

AA-49In order to guar­an­tee the repro­duc­tion of their species, the orchids gen­er­ate a great num­ber of tiny lit­tle seeds in their cysts, which can eas­i­ly been car­ried away by the wind.

Orchids: survivalists among the botanicals

Thanks to a spe­cial sur­vival strat­e­gy, the orchids have adapt­ed them­selves to the dif­fi­cult con­di­tions of a pal­try ground. Togeth­er with the fun­gi, they form a kind of joint ven­ture, allow­ing using the present nutri­ents at their best.

The orchid seeds nor­mal­ly do not con­tain nutri­ents for their germ buds, pre­vent­ing seed­ing. The orchid is neu­tral­iz­ing this effect by digest­ing fun­gi fibre, enter­ing the cells of the orchid embryo. In this way the orchid can use the nutri­ents the fun­gi are absorb­ing from the veg­etable mate­r­i­al on the ground. It is only after the com­plete devel­op­ment of its leaf that the orchid is able to cre­ate its own nutri­ents by the pho­to­syn­the­sis. At this moment it is sup­ply­ing the fun­gi with nutri­ents too.

This form of joint ven­ture is called “sym­bio­sis”. Some kinds of orchids do not pro­duce chloro­phylls, which makes them depen­dent of the root fun­gi for all their life long. (for exam­ple the Bird’s nest orchid / Neot­tia nidus-avis).