Rapid spreading of the candelabra thistle in the broader region of Platak

Prospekt Flora, Intresting facts

Photo 1. A candelabra thistle on the slope of Jazvina Hill below Mali Platak (Photo by Nina Trinajstić)

Rapid spreading of the candelabra thistle (Cirsium candelabrum) in the broader region of Platak

In our previous report about plant life we wrote about the candelabra thistle (Cirsium candelabrum), a large newcomer species of thistle in ruderal forest habitats at Lepenice (not far from Gornje Jelenje) and on Mali Platak. We first recorded this species at these sites in 2016 and, as far as we know, ours was the first information available regarding the spreading of the candelabra thistle in the County of Primorje and Gorski Kotar.

 While monitoring the grassland on Jazvina Hill (NATURA 2000 habitat /http://www.ju-priroda.hr/zanimljivosti.asp?id=2zanimljivosti/ljudi/12-pozariste-jazvina.html/) in early August of this year (2017), we came across tens of lush, blossoming specimens of candelabra thistle. Growing very tall, they were easy to spot, even at a distance, on the burnt steep surfaces on which torrents deposit soil and on which the process of secondary succession of plant life has begun.

Prior to the fire, meadows with narrow-leaved moor grass (Sesleria juncifolia) grew here. After the fire, the moor  grass has disappeared (for the time being) from the burnt areas, although some of the more important plants of the previous community, such as Genista holopetala and Marchesetti’s bellflower (Campanula marchesetti), are still growing in places. Some of the other local species have explosively spread across the burnt areas, such as certain species of the pea family that were previously present in the grassland but in much smaller numbers.

What remains for us to see is whether the candelabra thistle will continue to spread across the churned up soil of the beech forests, degraded by the effects of an ice storm and logging, at Lepenice, not far for the Gornje Jelenje pass, where we found the plant last year.

  M. R.

Photo 2. The candelabra thistle is rich in nectar and visited by large numbers of butterflies, bumblebees and honeybees. (Photo by Nina Trinajstić)

Photo 3. The burnt slopes of Jazvina Hill with numerous specimens of the candelabra thistle (Photo by Nina Trinjastić)