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. This is the home of the pioneer plants, so called because they are always the first to colonize habitats where food is scarce. It’s a constant battle with the soil, and each plant has its weapons: long roots to anchor themselves well or microscopic adherent leaves to cling to the rocks. One of the plants that has grown long roots is the cushion silene, also known as cushion pink: it looks much like a moss, but it blooms with an abundance of tiny pink flowers.