IRON GATES NATURAL PARK
Floristic composition, geographical affiliation, spatial variation of the biological spectrum and vegetal associations characterizing the nemoral floor the vegetation of the Iron Gates Natural Park falls into, confer originality to the area, stressing the need for conservation.
The floristic diversity of the Iron Gates Natural Park caught the attention of botanists since the beginning of the nineteenth century. P. Kitaibel in 1802 and A. Rochel in 1828 were among the first botanists who reported the presence of plants that were giving uniqueness to the Danube Gorge.
Marsilea quadrifolia – Water Shamrock – is a water fern or a fern seen on the banks, sporadic in the lowland and meadow areas, which can be seen around stagnant waters. It can be observed in the western part of the Park, in the recognized wetland area.
Eleocharis carniolica – moisture-loving species, it can be found often in disturbed wetlands or in the pioneer vegetation of the moors, in the floodable areas of the meadows, etc. In the Iron Gates Natural Park it is reported from Mehedinti Plateau area, at its northern boundary, but considering the ecological preferences, it can be also found in the recognized wetlands of the Park area.
Paeonia officinalis ssp. banatica – Banat Peony – species critically endangered, only reported from Southwestern and Western Romania. Pannonian semi-shadow element, thermophilic, calcicole, found in the hilly area.
Thlaspi jankae – Penny-Cress – endangered species – North Pannonian endemite, light loving, the plant can be found in the hilly area, in rocky, dry and carbonated places. Extremely rare, so its monitoring is required.
Colchicum arenarium – Sand Saffron – endangered, wet soils loving species, it is found in the western part of the Park, being reported from Moldova Veche Islet. Danubian endemite, the species is very important in scientific terms, due to its rarity and limited distribution area.
Asplenium adulterinum – Ladder Spleenwort – critically endangered species, it is reported only in the South-West of the country, “in the company of its parents, on the serpentine massif between Mraconia opening, Danube, the Great Cauldrons, up to Tisovita and Baia Noua. European endemite, it is a semi-shadow plant in the mountainous area.
Echium russicum – Red-flowered Viper’s Bugloss – particular among its sisters due to the color of its inflorescence (Burgundian red), it is a light- and heat-loving plant found in the grassland areas of Mehedinti Plateau. It was also reported in the Liubcova area.
Pulsatilla grandis – The Greater Pasque Flower – critically endangered species, found in the mountain and hilly area, meadows, belts, dry, neuter soils, deficient in nitrogen. From the Iron Gates Natural Park area it is referred to as being present between Gura Vaii and Schela Cladovei. The limiting factors are both the populations poor in individuals and over-grazing.
Tulipa hungarica – Banat Tulip – critically endangered species, it is a local endemite seen only in the Cauldrons. It can be observed in the spring, adorning the steep mountainsides, whose vegetation paints a nice picture for both the ignorant eye and especially the nature loving eye. The population of this species is relatively stable, still being threatened by the human actions, although the habitat provides a certain degree of self-preservation.
Stipa danubialis– Feather Grass – critically endangered species, described as a result of complex research carried out for the construction of the Iron Gates I dam. Unique in the world, it appears locally only in the Southwest of the country, at the eastern boundary of the Iron Gates Natural Park. It grows on the southern slopes, characteristic for the xeric vegetation on the sunny flanks, where it cohabitates with other items of scientific interest.
a) the prohibition/restriction of interventions on water courses: drainage;
b) controlling disruptive factors, represented by fecaloid-domestic pollution, sawdust, erosion;
c) regulation of grazing and hay-making;
d) the prohibition to burn vegetation;
e) prohibition/restriction of using various amendments or fertilizers;
f) keeping of livestock, with the species and within the periods laid down, regulation of traditional activities of medicinal herbs, mushrooms and forest fruits collection or other activities.
DJERDAP NATIONAL PARK
With regard to biodiversity, the territory of the NP is situated on the border of two different floristic regions: the middle-European region of temperate forests and the Ponto-south Siberian or steppe-forests floristic region. The park is one of the largest and most northerly European refugee for flora and vegetation of the Arctic-Tertiary period, with more than 50 different types of forest and bush formations, out of which 35 are relict. More than 900 species and subspecies of vascular plants inhabit the territory of the NP, however a detailed database on the total number of species has not been completed yet.
One of the many relict species in Djerdap is Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna), which is sporadically found in Europe, in gorges and canyons in the central parts of the Balkan Peninsula, while in Djerdap it forms dense and old stands mixed with other relict species. Persian walnut (Juglans regia), another relict and autochthonous species, is widespread in the Danube’s riparian area, to 600 meters above sea level. Apart from beech (Fagus moesiaca), which is quite rampant in Djerdap and forms mixed communities with other deciduous and often relict species, other common species inlcude oriental beech (Fagus orientalis), European bladdernut (Staphylea pinnata), Pančić’s field maple (Acer intermedium), lilac (Syringa vulgaris) and European nettle tree (Celtis australis). As for relict examples of dendriforms in the woods surrounding the Iron Gates, there are evergreens and brushes, such as holly (Ilex aquifolium), spurge laurel (Daphne laureola), butcher’s broom (Ruscus hypoglossum) and common yew (Taxus baccata).
Endemic Balkan species can also be found in Djerdap, including: Erysimum commatum (endemic variant of cress), Hieracium marmoreum (endemic variant of hawkweed), coronation gold yarrow (Achillea clypeolata), Dianthus petraeus (endemic variant of carnation), yellow campion (Silene flavescens), Pančić’s field maple (Acer hyrcanum intermedium), Alyssum petraeum, Coronilla elegans, Sesleria rigida, Cerastium banaticum (endemic variant of chickweed), Satureja kitaibelii (endemic variant of savory), Centaurea atropurpurea (endemic variant of cornflower), Parietaria serbica and Jurinea subhastata. A typical endemorelict, is an endemic species of lilac which forms famous Adamović’s shrubs, named after this renowned botanist and recognized throughout the world.