Maritime Alps

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Sellars
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Maritime Alps

We are staying at St Dalmas about 8 km west of St Martin Vesubie. On our first day we hiked up Tete du Barn (2529 m) above Col du Barn. The access was excellent as we could drive to 2000 m on a paved road above St Dalmas.

There was lots to see a few hundred metres from the parking lot, particularly orchids. But the outstanding plant was a Maritimes Alps endemic Viola valderia growing from a tight mat of narrow leaves, unlike typical violas. The Viola lutea had huge yellow flowers some nearly white.

Sellars
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Joined: 2009-12-29

There were huge fields of an old friend Ranunculus pyrenaeus on the climb up to the col and the occasional plant of Primula latifolia.  A species we found that we had not seen before in the Alps was Saxifraga retusa which is similar to Saxifraga oppositifolia except it is very compact.  Some of the buns were rock hard particularly the one on the cliff face with the flowers just starting to open.  The Saxifraga retusa on the summit were in full flower.  The flowers are very interesting hence the close-ups below.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

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Booker
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Joined: 2010-01-30

Wonderful pictures David ... many thanks for posting.

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

Lori S.
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Joined: 2009-10-27

Wow, stunning scenes and flowers, David!  Thank you for posting!
Gee, European orchids by-and-large seem to put ours to shame... we have so many non-showy ones, while there seem to be so many spectacular ones there.  The ranunculus, especially, are just breath-taking.  :o

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
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Joined: 2009-09-21

i am equally impressed!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

Needless to say, I second the opinion expressed here :D

However, I am sorry to say that these beautiful European plants don't reach Norway so I too have to go abroad to view such sights.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Sellars
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Joined: 2009-12-29

On the second day we completed a classic hike in the area starting from Madone de Fenestre at about 2000 m to Col Fenestre at 2474 m.  We were hoping to find Saxifraga florulenta on the cliffs above Lac Fenestre but no luck.  We did see some very lovely Saxifraga pedemontana and Primula marginata on the cliffs at the pass.  The photos below show some of the plants we saw together with the spectacular scenery.

(Edited to add names of species photographed, to allow for search capability.  :)
Rhododendron ferrugineum, Gagea fistulosa, Gentiana acaulis )

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

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cohan
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David wrote:

We are staying at St Dalmas about 8 km west of St Martin Vesubie.  On our first day we hiked up Tete du Barn (2529 m) above Col du Barn.  The access was excellent as we could drive to 2000 m on a paved road above St Dalmas.

There was lots to see a few hundred metres from the parking lot, particularly orchids.  But the outstanding plant was a Maritimes Alps endemic Viola valderia growing from a tight mat of narrow leaves, unlike typical violas.  The Viola lutea had huge yellow flowers some nearly white.

Great stuff, David! I love the Violas besides obviously the orchids--sharing Lori's sense that many of ours are just not so exciting! We have tons of Platanthera which are mostly off green, and next most common would be yellowish Corallorrhiza!
That little Sax retusa is great, too--colour and up close texture...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Sellars
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Joined: 2009-12-29

In the next few days we concentrated on seeking out some of the endemic saxes of the Maritime Alps.  We found Saxifraga florulenta, Farrer's Ancient King in the Gordolasque Valley and Saxifraga cochlearis near the village of La Brigue.  High up on the Col de Tende is the site of Saxifraga callosa 'Bellardii'.

Later we found S. florulenta in the Valmasque and I stuck a Euro coin above it for a scale so the size of the rosette can be appreciated.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
www.mountainflora.ca
MountainFlora videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MountainFlora

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Gorgeous rosettes there!  It's wonderful how those plants all seem to be defying gravity.  How did you manage those photos?  Was it a cliff face next to the trail or did you have to perform some acrobatics to capture them?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Eia var jeg der!  ;D
What a place to botanize! (I mean studying not picking ;))

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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