my trip to Slovakia

ivo koudela (
Fri, 28 Jul 95 10:00:26 +0200

This message contains a description of the trip to Slovakia and
is longer a bit. Sorry...

At the beginning of July, I and my wife Eva went to the Slovak
Republic to visit my friend Ondrej Stevko and, above all, some CP
habitats near the town Revuca in the Revucka vrchovina (the
highlands around Revuca). First of all, I must say Ondrej is the
president of our local CP society called the Darwiniana. Here
I will omit nearly all the information not concerning CPs
- maybe I will write a more detailed article into CPN in the
future if somebody finds this interesting (note I don't promise
that - I only think about it!).

Well, the first day we visited two habitats of Pinguicula
vulgaris about 50 km from Revuca. The field name of the plants
similar to Lowrie's specification would be P.vulgaris 'Puste Pole
- Vernar, Muranska planina, Slovak Republic'. The first locality
was situated a few metres from a railroad, 10 m below the level
of the line where a creek flew across the railroad. There were so
many Pings along this creek that it was difficult no to step on
any plant. However, I think this species is so hardy that it
would do them no serious harm because there went even tractors
through the bed of this creek but all the Pings were evidently
quite happy! I can say so as we saw the wheel-prints of a tractor
in the bed. I remember I have read somewhere the tractors help
extend the distribution of Pings at some places because in spring
broken hibernacula can stick to mud on the wheels and get away
again at the other place. Therefore many Pings can be found
growing in tracks in some habitats. It seemed that it was true
for this location, too.
The plants grew in clayey soil with many stones and pebbles
just besides water or, occasionally, directly in it as well as
among grass at the edges of the banks. A lot of plants had two to
four (usually three) flower stalks at this time of the year and
we were lucky enough to see many flowers opened. Of course, my
camera wasn't idle...

The second habitat was a few kilometers from the first. Some time
we went along a road and then went off to a mountain meadow.
There were again many butterworts (although much less than at the
first place)at the edge of a forrest just few tens of metres from
the road. They grew at the place where some water flew off the
forrest forming a creek a little bit lower and again in similar
soil which contained even more clay.

The next day we visited a habitat of D.rotundifolia 'Machy
- Hrdzava dolina, Muranska planina, Slovak Republic'. It was
surprising for me to find this species growing on quite a steep
slope some tens of metres above the level of a creek flowing
through the valley because there was no standing or running water
at this place! The habitat itself consisted of red coloured peat
moss with many bilberry plants above all. There were dwarf pine
trees growing above this habitat what is very unusual as these
trees usually grow in much higher altitudes. This all is caused
by an ice cave which, as I was told, is in the heart of the hill.
Really, when we put our palms on the ground, we could felt its
'cold breath'.
At first we could not find any sundew because the ground was
pawed by deers looking for food in winter or spring. Fortunately,
D. rotundifolia is hardy enough to survive that - we saw new
plants sprouting at the spoilt places. Once we discovered the
first plant, we were able to distinguish many soon, some of which
growing on nearly vertical parts of the habitat. The plants have
just developed first flower stalks but no flower has been opened

Finally, the third species we found in Slovakia was a Ping
resembling P.alpina but without yellow spots on lateral flower
lobes. I couldn't judge it on my own because all plants have
already finished blooming at the time of our visit. BTW, this
species is grown in collections under the name P.sp.aff.alpina.
Approach to this habitat (Javornikova dolina, Muranska planina,
Slovak Republic) was quite difficult - we had to go through the
bed of the creek flowing the valley jumping from one stone to
another, walking on wet dead trunks, climbing rocks and, at two
difficult places, overcoming them with ladders which stood there
for this purpose. The valley was wide about 1.5 m - 20 m.
When we finally arrived to the end of the valley, we found the
most difficult place was still waiting for us. Therefore my wife
Eva decided to wait for us here while I and Ondrej went on.
After climbing up the rock high 10 m or so at one side of the
valley, we saw a beautiful scenery - a small valley surrounded by
steep rocks on which water flew down and with a small waterfall
(about 50 m high) on the right. I was told Pings grew on the
center rock just besides one of creeks flowing down. We hold on
the rock falling down under about 60 degrees and had to get to
the creek. Not so steep parts were covered with wet dead leaves
of decidous forrest while steeper ones were bare or with grasses.
All was wet and very slippery. The first P.sp.aff.alpina which we
saw was a plant of about 4 cm in diameter growing in limy/clayey
mud a few centimetres from the creek. Ondrej jumped over the
creek and discovered many Pings on nearly vertical part of the
rock. It seemed too dangerous for me as one wrong step or loosing
my footing on the slippery rock and I would have fallen down by
30 m or so. After a few vain attempts, I found another way which
didn't seem to be so dangerous. I took several pictures of plants
when we discovered there were Pings on the bank which we have
just come from, too and approach to them was not so difficult!
This group of plants grown at the edge of the creek among
As I mentioned above, we didn't see any plant in bloom rather
some of them had matured seedpods. In comparison with P.vulgaris
habitats where the plants had 2-4 flower stalks per plant, here
we usually saw only one per plant.
The journey back to the place where Eva was waiting for us was
even more difficult than the journey up - we often slipped on wet
steep rock. Fortunately, nothing dangerous didn't happen.

Finally, when we arrived home from Slovakia, I was not tired
still and visited a habitat of D.rotundifolia near the town Zdar
nad Sazavou where we both lived.
This place is a typical highland peat bog near the large pond
called Velke Darko used for recreation. However, it is faraway
enough from open area of the pond so that it is unspoilt. The bog
itself is on both sides of the local road leading to a small
neighbouring village and is much more longer than wider. The
border of the bog consists of a stripe of pine and birch trees
with a field behind on one side and a coniferous forrest on the
other. In this bog the Sazava river rises so that it doesn't dry
out even in very hot seasons, one of which was last year.
After the last season when I saw only thousands of plants, this
year some places of the bog were red with sundews what I have not
seen before. I could not estimate a number of them but surely
there are tens of thousands of plants. They grew in peat moss,
under water or at the very edge of the forrest where is much
drier soil. But what is interesting - unlike usual prostrate
rosettes, the leaves were often arranged upwards.
At this time of the year the first flowers just only showed their
white petals so I could not see any plant in full bloom.

Well, I hope this description wasn't too boring for you and my
English wasn't too awkward...

Ivo from the Czech Republic