Info point Viamala
Bruuch- und Unbruuchbares
"Dwarf shrubs – in the dialect 'Bruuch' – have always grown here on the Bruuchalp. Typical plants are alpine rose or cranberry. Here you can observe well how the Bruuch expands if you do not counteract it: Further down, where the cows often and gladly graze, there is less Bruuch. For this, juicy grazing herbs grow. Further up towards Glasergrat, the bruuching plants are denser, as they are cultivated more extensively. For the Alpine, the Bruuch is of little use, as these plants displace the important nutrient-rich grasses and herbs on the pasture and with their leathery leaves are unpopular with cattle or even have a poisonous effect. The black grouse, on the other hand, needs the bruuch. It feeds on the berries in autumn, on the evergreen leaves in winter and finds shelter in them."
Alpine rose, blueberry, cranberry, broom heather and all sorts of dwarf woody plants with mostly leathery, evergreen leaves together form the Bruuch, also known as dwarf shrub heather. In the low altitudes, the Bruuch is limited to a few, rather small-scale locations, in the high altitudes, such as here on the upper Heinzenberg, they occur more extensively.
The heaths are found on acidic soils and thus agriculturally less productive locations. Since the leathery leaves of the humming plants are difficult to degrade, they make the soil even more acidic. For many herbivores, this habitat characterized by humming plants is not particularly interesting, the plants protect themselves with tannic tissue against biting and generally form little biomass.
For some animal species, however, the bruuch is an ideal habitat and food supplier, e.B. for the black grouse, the grass frog or the marmot. The latter particularly likes the nutrient-rich and healthy grazing herbs growing here between the patchy population of the bruuching plants. These include the Bearded Bellflower (blooms from June to August) or the Arnica (blooms from May to August).
Bruuch plants protect themselves from withering
Plants wilt when they evaporate more water through the crevice openings on the leaves than they absorb through the roots. The evergreen humming plants, which cannot reduce their evaporation to a minimum by shedding leaves, must protect themselves from water loss, especially in winter. Because then they can not absorb water from the frozen soil. In order to protect themselves from too much evaporation in the water-scarce time, the bruuching plants have special characteristics:
- Small leaf surface or reduction of the leaf area by rolling in the leaf edges.
- Hairiness to prevent sunlight and a windless moist layer of air to form the plant surface.
- Leathery leaves with a particularly thick-walled outer layer to contain evaporation and limit it to the underside of the leaf.
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