Extraordinary plant life

Alpine plants are particularly interesting because of their astounding ability to adapt: they have evolved to cope with the wind, the cold, the snow, poor and rocky soil, intense UV exposure and the short vegetation period.

Many mountain species are at risk, especially because of climate change, with higher temperatures affecting the immediate environment and therefore forcing the plants to move in search of colder temperatures to ever-higher altitudes...

The edelweiss, alpenrose and gentian are undoubtedly among the best-known Alpine flowers, but are just a drop in the ocean of the 4,500 vascular plant species found in the Alps – that's 39% of all European plant species. Of these 4,500 plant species, 350 are classified as native to the Alps or certain Alpine regions and are often found at high altitude. These native plants include the Zois' bellflower (Campanula zoysii), round-leaved St. John's wort and the carniolan lily to name but a few.

Around 900 different plant communities have been surveyed in the Alps and approximately 13,000 plant species, including:

  • Over 5,000 fungi
  • The 4,500 vascular plant species already mentioned
  • Around 2,500 lichens
  • Around 800 mosses
  • Around 300 eupatoriae species (e.g. hemp agrimony, boneset, snakeroot)