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Alpine Chondrilla

The Alpine chondrilla (Chondrilla chondrilloides) is a rather undistinctive composite plant with a height of 15 – 30cm. The  Chondrilletum (in German: Knorpelsalatflur) pioneer phytocoenosis got its name from this plant.  As a typical pioneer plant of wild river landscapes, its preferred locations are freshly created gravel banks which are regularly flooded. Its habitat is marked by permanent change. The Alpien chondrilla, together with other plants of its phytocoenosis, such as the creeping baby’s breath (Gypsophila repens), the Alpine toadflax (Linaria alpina), and mountain avens (Dryas octopetala), is well adjusted to such a habitat. But without these changes it is soon eliminated by other plants.

Regulation and damming of numerous rivers in the northern Alps have completely destroyed stretches with bed load exchange and with this, also destroyed the habitat of the chondrilletum.

The Chondrilletum is among the most endangered phytocoenosis in Central Europe. It is moreover, the habitat for a rare grasshopper species (Bryodema tuberculata), one of the biggest and most beautiful grasshoppers in Central Europe.

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