The habitats of Mont Blanc

The rocks seem immobile, but it is in their depths that everything begins: each element reacts harmoniously with the others and defines the identity of an entire mountain. That of the Eastern Alps is mostly made up of calcareous rock, rich in calcium carbonate, and it is for this reason that they are inhabited principally by calcicole flora. But plants of this type are also found in the Western Alps, right here in Valle d’Aosta. Like the furry alpenrose, whose leaves are covered in hairs. It is of the same genus as the rusty-leaved alpenrose – whose leaves have rust-colored undersides and which grows in the Western Alps - and they share the common name of alpenrose, because of their bright pink blooms. The difference between them? It’s all in their preferred soil: alkaline and calcareous for the hairy alpenrose, acid for its rusty-leaved cousin. In this rock garden you will also find Aster alpinus,  Leontopodium alpinum and Saussurea alpina, other species of the Saussurea genus and plants of exceptional beauty, like Silene elisabethae and Minuartia verna, which blankets the ground with tiny white flowers.

  • The alpine pastures

    The alpine pastures begin where the shrubs gradually peter out, leaving open meadows for grazing. The plants here do not grow tall, at least above ground.

  • The wetlands

    The flora of the wetlands flourishes wherever there is water – on the surface, underground or in rivulets hidden by the rocks.

  • The scree slope

    Just below the permanent snowline there is the scree slope, steep and littered with detritus and sand. It would seem an inhospitable place, but even here we find little, obdurate patches of green.

  • The alder grove

    If we move to the north face of the mountain, we can admire a climber of exceptional strength, a true pioneer.

  • The rhododendron-bilberry habitat

    The rhododendron - bilberry habitat lies just above the coniferous forests. As the larches and firs gradually thin out, more and more space is taken up by the so-called ‘twisted bushes’.

© 2018 Fondazione Saussurea Onlus