Vegetation of the Silesian Beskids
The vegetation of the Silesian Beskids is arranged as everywhere in the mountains - in characteristic plant layers, differing from each other both in the occurrence of individual plant species, as well as their entire teams. Reaching up to approx. 500 m above sea level, the foothills were originally occupied by multi-species mixed forests, especially oak-hornbeam hornbeam forests with a significant share of sycamore trees, lip, larch and beech trees, and in wetter places - elms. There was hazel in the undergrowth, wild elderberry black and coral, kruszyna, honeysuckle, willow and others, and the undergrowth was very rich. Originally, these forests covered the entire north. the foot of the mountains, reaching Ustroń * in the Vistula valley *, and in the Olza valley * even to Jabłonków *. During the 17th and 18th centuries. almost all of them were wiped out, and in their place were meadows and arable fields. Small fragments of forests, but with a significantly changed species structure, preserved on the slopes of Jasieniowa *, in the Dziegielów region * and in several places around Trzyniec * (m.in. Jagodna * ). In these forests we will meet, among others. blooming in early spring: snowdrop snowdrop, the haughty primrose and the daffodil laurel, as well as a highly poisonous wolfberry, a greenless husk, parasitizing on the roots of hazel and the very rare gold-headed lily. Perhaps the most beautiful European orchid - the slipper - has not yet become extinct here, rarely seen already in the interwar years. Also a few old trees have survived, mainly old oaks and lindens, m.in. in Ustroń *, Cisownica *, Goleszow *, Dziegielowie *, Trzyniec * and Jabłonków *.
From 500 do 1100-1150 m npm. in the Silesian Beskids stretches the land of the lower mountain range, covering the rest of the region under discussion here, right up to the highest peaks (UK. Czantoria*, 995 m). Bottom belt , reaching up to 700-800 m npm, it is a fir and beech zone in the entire Western Beskids. Transition lane, reaching for 950 m npm, is the zone of the strongest expansion of beech. Above, the spruce becomes the dominant tree. Many factors influence the significant diversity of vegetation within these zones, how: type of substrate and the soil developed on it, steepness and exposure of the slopes, local climatic conditions.
The most beautiful fragments of the former Carpathian forest were once created in the lower forest of the Carpathian beech forest, in which the common beech is accompanied mainly by fir and sycamore. The undercoat layer in the beech forest is sparse due to significant shading: grows here, among others. already mentioned rare, protected shrub - daphne.
The undergrowth is also home to plants that bloom in early spring, before the leaves of the beech, like a snowdrop a snowdrop, wood anemone, quadrilateral or lungwort moth, or plants with good shade tolerance, like glandular and bulbous livestock, marzanka wonna, intensely fragrant wild garlic, yellow gamekeeper, almond-leaved spurge and several species of ferns. Among them there is also the common hoof plant with evergreen leaves and inconspicuous flowers, usually hidden under a thick layer of decaying leaves, covering the forest floor all year round.
A poorer variety of beech forest, called "sour", occurring on the substrate of carbonate sandstone, characterized by the absence of fir and sycamore, whose place is taken by spruce with the share of rowan (rowan) and lilac in the undergrowth. In the undergrowth, we meet here a lily of the valley, fine grass called bent daredevil, forest speedway and a beautiful fern broad-leaved fern.
The fir forest was also a typical forest complex of the lower montane zone for the discussed part of the Beskids, in which, apart from fir, there is a slight admixture of beech or spruce and sycamore. The undergrowth of these forests is similar in richer habitats, as in the Carpathian beech complexes. At sites with strongly acidic soils, we can meet turf of round-leaved grass, ferns: podrzeń ribs and broadleafs and large fields of blueberry interspersed with clumps of bent daredevils.
The least fertile habitats - places with little slopes and flat ridges between valleys - were taken by the mixed lowland forest. On a carbon-free surface, hardly weathered sandstone, almost exclusively fir and spruce grow. Spruce has optimal development conditions here and is more beautiful than in other forest complexes. In the undergrowth of these forests, which used to occupy large areas in the area in question, there are mainly a few species of blackberries, wild elderberry, black honeysuckle. In the undergrowth - rich and varied - we will meet numerous ferns, club moss, and many species of mosses, forming large places, zbite darnie. Among the flowering plants we can meet here the lily of the valley, forest speedway, a typical mountain species - alpine coltsfoot, and sometimes a single-flowered pear and a rare species of orchid - heart-shaped leaf. Among the grasses found here, it is worth mentioning the extensive 1 m giant hairy and yellowish hairy typical of the Western Carpathians.