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Flora of Bia這wie瘸 Forest Print

Work with book „Bia這wie瘸 National Park. Know it – Understand it – Protect it”
Publisher: Bia這wieski Park Narodowy, 2009

Natural Forest
Last (in European lowlands) fragments of a forest having natural origin are preserved in Bia這wie瘸 Forest. Due to the years of protection, many species survived in the Forest, whereas in other parts of the world they became extinct. Many commonly recognized species vary in form and size in the Forest, especially - trees. In order to give a good example of that phenomenon, we shall pay attention to limes growing in the Forest, which remind oaks by their cross-section and size; or the Goat willow known across the whole Europe as a large shrub – growing in the Forest in a form of a tree having the height up to 22 m and the diameter up to 40 cm. 

Alder carr
Protection of Bia這wie瘸 Forest helped to survive and preserve not only single species, but even groups of species and natural structural layout of floristic composition. Forests predominate in the Forest landscape, covering approximately 96% of its surface area. The rest of the area of Bia這wie瘸 Forest is covered by fields, meadows, roads, wastelands, flowing and standing waters. Within last ten years the non-forest area was subjected to reduction, as the forest is naturally coming back to the abandoned fields and meadows. 

Root plate of tree
Galio silvatici - Carpinetum is a predominant type of the forest in Bia這wie瘸 Forest, and covers 47% of all forest area. The coniferous forest cover 37%, and wet decidous and mixed forests cover approximately 14,5% of Bia這wie瘸 Forest area. Forest stands comprise mainly : Norway spruce - 26%, Scots pine - 24%, black alder - 17%, pedunculate oak- 12%, and birch : betula pendula, betula pubescens - 11%. Ash, Small-leaved lime, Norway maple, Poplar, Aspen, and elms constitute additives in the species composition of forest stands, though locally they can be the predominant tree types. Common hornbeam, although being a very common tree type, usually constitutes the second level of the forest stand, very rarely constituting a part of the main forest stand.

Afterlife of a tree
In comparison with other Polish forests, those in Bia這wie瘸 Forest have the following distinctive feature : primary forest stands are preserved in a very good condition. Almost 40% of the forest area is covered by tree stands over 80 years old. Average age of a forest stand is 73 in the developed area, and 130 in the Strict Protection Area of Bia這wie瘸 National Park.

The moisture and type of the soil (features influencing the forest stand fertility) have the greatest influence on the type of floristic composition growing within certain area. The aforementioned dependence is of a great importance in case of both described features. Forests growing on the fertile soil will have completely different species composition than forests growing on a non-fertile soil having the same moisture.
Spruce reinstatement
The species composition will be varied in similar soil fertility conditions but in different moisture conditions.

In many places in  Bia這wie瘸 Forest the natural mosaic of floristic composition was preserved. The layout of the forest composition in the water valleys is the most characteristic and conventional. It is clearly visible while walking perpendicularly to the river or the stream axis. 

Mutated anemone
Moving away from the river banks, as the land gets more and more elevated, the following plants communities appear in the fixed sequence : riperian forest, wet-ground forest (starting from wet variation changing into less wet variation), mixed forest, and in the conditions of extreme dryness, finally we approach pine forest growing on sand soil. The relatively clear layout is disturbed by land depression having impermeable ground, and thus having no outflow. In the land depression, in strong and changeable wetness conditions the alder wood develops, and in a presence of permanent great wetness – the raised peat bog, marshy coniferous forest might develop. 

Coral-root bittercress
Vascular plants constitute the largest group among plants in Bia這wie瘸 Forest  – there are a bit more than thousand species of vascular plants. Out of the aforementioned plant species 19 are ferns, 6 - clubmosses, 7 - equisetum, 54 are represented by hepatics, and a little bit more than 200 species - mosses. Many species of bryophytes and lichens used to be, most probably, widespread, but survived only in such places as Bia這wie瘸 Primaeval Forest. They might be spotted only in the places where the forest preserved its primary nature, and system of natural conditions and human influence (rather its absence) enabled their survival. The majority of the species is connected with the presence of deadwood, stumps, branches and the bark of old trees. Their presence stands for Bia這wie瘸 Primaeval uniqness, being the proof of the degree of the preservation of the Forest natural resources.

Apart from single species of plants also rare groups of plants have been preserved in Bia這wie瘸 Forest. The species escpecially worth mentioning is spruce wood on peat –the forest composition very rarely seen in Poland. The characteristc feature of the spruce wood on peat is significant predominance of spruce in the forest stand, almost complete lack of deciduous species of trees, and the presence of very rare plants such as lesser twayblade or small-leaved cranberry in the undergrowth composed mainly of various mosses, and peat mosses.

Vascular plants flora in Bia這wie瘸 Forest is quite well recognized, however, it does not mean that the list of species is closed. Although the forest is quite thick, only 664 out of 1070 species of vascular plants can be considered as natural components of forest ecosystems in Bia這wie瘸 Forest. Other species appeared in Bia這wie瘸 Forest after the human being created proper living conditions for them to thrive. There are 353 species of that kind and new ones are still turning out. Some species considered to be extinct might be still alive. These are the examples of very rare florian species : the ghost orchid identified in Bia這wie瘸 Forest on the basis of observation in years: 1888, 1889, 1925, 1930, and 1996.

Bird’s Nest Orchid
Isopyrum thalictroides
Isopyrum thalictroides
and mutated European
Wood Anemone

These are the largest vascular plant families identified in Bia這wie瘸 Forest:

  • composites ( Compositae ) - 108 species,
  • grasses ( Graminae ) - 85
  • sedge family ( Cyperaceae ) - 66
  • rose family ( Rosaceae ) - 59
  • leguminous ( Papilionaceae ) - 54
  • carnation family ( Caryophyllaceae ) - 43
  • figwort family ( Scrophulariaceae ) - 41
  • thyme ( Labiateae ) - 41
  • Crucifereae ( Crucifereae ) - 40
  • buttercup family ( Ranunculaceae ) - 35
  • Umbelifereae ( Umbelifereae ) - 32
  • orchids ( Orchidaceae ) - 24
  • Knotweed family ( Polygonaceae ) - 24
  • Among vascular plants in Bia這wie瘸 Primaeval Forest there are 96 species having ligneous sprouts : trees - 26 species, shrubs – 55 species and dwarf shrubs – 14 species. The numbers given above cover also the species, which are, with a regard to different reasons, hard to clasify (gooseberry, forest apple, Carpathian birch and black poplar) and those, which area extinct (yew).


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