Easter Holidays for me already started a couple of days ago, and thus far I have made the most of it. The weather has been fantastic, and we have been outside quite a bit. Mostly, we have enjoyed family walks in the area (what else, given the circumstances). I have really started geeking out on flowering plants. I am thinking of starting a list of all the species of flowering herbs I encounter somewhere on my web page. I recently answered to someone on Twitter: “A flower a day keeps the demons away”, and this really seems to be the truth – at least for me. I am the kind of person that always needs to obsess on something to really be in my element. Flowering plants seem to work well, are also appreciated by my wife Heike, and by my son Rafa, so it is a win-win-win.
Yesterday, I botanized a bit in a place called the Freisinger Buckl. It’s a small area between the river Isar, South of Freising, and Munich Airport, which is pretty close by. (I can literally see planes take off and land from my living room window)
The Freisinger Buckl is an artificial floodbasin that is meant to drain excess water, in situations where the Isar river runs high water. This happens every now and then in spring and summer, when heavy rains and melting water from the Alps all come down at once. I have never seen the river that high. It happened last year when I was unfortunately not around. It must be an impressive sight, as I noticed that mud was covering vegetation hundreds of meters away from the Isar path a couple of weeks after the flooding last year. Although drainage seems to be the main purpose, the Freisinger Buckl is relatively dry most of the year, and has relatively poor soil conditions, which often results in a more diverse vegetation that includes many rare plants.
This time of the year is still early in the season with relatively little growth. Most of the Buckl was still bone dry and dominated by a dead and dried-out vegetation. Some Salix caprea trees were flowering abundantly and provided the first food for the many bumblebee queens that were scouting around for a place to start their new colonies.
However, just before we reached our car on our way out of the area, I saw some plant species that I have never seen in the Netherlands. A beautiful flowering Pulsatilla species, which I think should be Pulsatilla vulgaris (thanks to my much more botanically skilled friend Rutget for confirming). This species was once relatively common in various areas of the Netherlands, including in areas relatively close to where I grew up. But as we tend to do in my country, we messed up the conditions by means of industrial agriculture, including heavy fertilization. The species, by now, has been declared extinct in ‘the wild’ (little to none left) in The Netherlands. It’s such a shame, but I am very happy to have found it in the wild here.
Because I wanted to include it in my species list, I looked up the English name, which is Pasque Flower, or Easter Flower. Now, if that isn’t a fitting picture for a post called ‘Happy Easter’, I don’t know what is.
Happy Easter Holidays everyone!