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River Borne Alpines

One would expect to find the earleaf bellflower (Campanula cochleariifolia), the mountain avens (Dryas octopetala), the edelweiss (Leontopodium nivale), the Alpine toadflaxt (Linaria alpina) or the blue-green saxifraga (Saxifraga caesia) on a mountain summit and not in the valley. But here they are also found in the floodplain forests and on the gravel banks.  

Melting snow and mudslides wash these seeds into the Lech river. There they find similar climatic conditions as on the summits of the Allgäu and Lechtal Alps. In the winter it is cold there and in the summer hot, dry and windy, with a high ultraviolet reflection due to the bright gravel. These climatic conditions also prevail on the gravel banks and in the  pinewood forests in the floodplains.  “River borne alpines” at the Lech are visitors from the mountains. These seeds have been washed down from the mountains into  the valley.

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