4. Rośliny kwiatowe runa leśnego
The herb layer is the lowest layer of vegetation that covers the litter or soil of the forest. It consists of mosses, fungi, lichens, herbaceous plants, ferns, tree seedlings, and small shrubs. It is a shelter for many species of small animals.
The richness of plant species in various forest plant communities is varied, which is confirmed by the data collected during phytosociological research (i.e., dealing with the description and classification of plant communities). Many species of forest floor can be indicators of the origin and natural quality and value of the forest; they are also used to identify types of forest habitats.
The species diversity of the herb layer throughout the year is strongly affected by the temperature during the day, precipitation, and air humidity. The amount of light reaching the forest floor, which changes in the following seasons, is also of great importance that influences its character. In the forest, the factor that limits access to light is tree crowns, which make plants in the lowest layer have to adapt to constantly changing lighting conditions. In deciduous forests, the vegetation on the forest floor is most lush in very early spring, when plants have unlimited access to sunlight.
It is because of the herb layer plants that the forest looks lovely in spring and summer, creating flowering mosaics on the forest floor. Among the herbaceous plants, you can find many medicinal and poisonous species. Species protection includes the Mezereon (Daphne mezereum), Martagon Lily (Lilium martagon), and Oxlip (Primula elatior) growing here.
The mezereon is a shrub that grows up to 1.5 m in height. It blooms before leafing out, in early spring, from February to the end of April. The flowers are pollinated by insects with long mouthparts. It is highly poisonous to humans and other mammals.
The Martagon Lily is a bulb geophyte belonging to the lily family, reaches up to 1.5 m in height. It is named after the 16th century alchemists who used golden-yellow lily bulbs to try to turn various metals into gold. It blooms in June and July. The flowers emit an intense fragrance that attracts butterflies.
The oxlip is a spring perennial that blooms from March to July. In Poland, it is found mainly in the mountains, in the Sudetes, and the Carpathians. It grows in sunny places, in meadows, thickets, and deciduous forests.
Herb layer plants were widely used in the past. During the year, they were used as bedding for livestock and as fuel in furnaces, and dried moss was used to insulate cottages. Animal grazing was also carried out in the forests. Nowadays, people still use the resources of the herb layer. Mostly mushrooms, forest fruits, and medicinal herbs are collected. Here we can find wild gooseberries, blackberries, and bilberries.

1.Mezereon, 2. Wood Anemone, 3. Wood Spurge, 4. Coralroot, 5. Lesser Celandine, 6. Yellow Archangel. 7. Herb-Robert, 8. Rue-leaved Isopyrum, 9. Martagon Lily, 10. Yellow Pimpernel, 11. Wood Sorrel, 12. Herb-Paris. 13. Common Solomon’s-seal, 14. Oxlip, 15. Miodunka ćma, 16. Gooseberry, 17. Bilberry, 18. Early Dog-violet
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