Marsh helleborine (Epipactis palustris)

In the Fagagna wet meadows

North-eastern Italian lowland hosts only a few residual patches of peat bogs and wet meadows: they are some of the remaining fragments of the ancestral Po valley, survived to the spread of agriculture and to the recent aggressive overbuilding. Their ancient origin has allowed some amazing living beings to survive till recent times in these rare and precious micro-habitats.

The “Prati umidi di Quadris” (= Quadris wet meadows), north of Fagagna (UD), hosts some interesting peat bogs that in June are in full blooming.

I visited the “prati” in order to photograph some of these gorgeous inhabitants finding in the sedge meadows:

  • Summer lady’s-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis): tens of plants in full blooming. Really a very good news for one of the rarest species of orchids in North-eastern Italy!
  • Marsh helleborine (Epipactis palustris): tens of plants, most of them still in blooming
  • Short-spurred fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia odoratissima): unfortunately almost going over.
  • Fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea): just a few going over.
  • Marsh gladiolus (Gladiolus palustris): hundreds of plants, half of them in blooming
  • Marsh gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe): just a couple in blooming. It’s a rare lowland plant, related to bogs and wed meadows
  • Euphrasia marchesettii:  just a few blooming (usually it flowers later in the summer). It’s another rare plant related to wet meadows.
False ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus)
Fagagna (June 2017)

I’ve found also some interesting animals:

  • False ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus): 2-3 individuals only. It’s a very rare species at European level, related to bogs and wet meadows
  • Heath and Spotted fritillaries (Melitaea athalia & M. didyma): some individuals.
  • Marbled white (Melanargia galathea): hundreds of them
  • Yellow-spotted emerald (Somatochlora flavomaculata):  3-4 individuals of this uncommon species
  • Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus): 1 beautiful adult
  • Marsh warbler (Acrocephalus palustris): at least a male in song

I had truly a great morning there, encountering some GIROS (the Italian Orchid group) members as well: the interest in this places and their nature is increasing also in Italy and every year more people go in the field to enjoy the Italian nature beauty.

 Luca Boscain

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