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No motorcycles between 6 pm and 8 am.

Please check out the website for more information before you drive.
 Cows on the field

Flora and Wildlife

Flora and fauna in the Nockberge

Flora and fauna along the “flower road” in the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge

When driving on the 35 km Nockalm Road, you will meet the wonders of alpine nature pretty much in passing. Colourful mountain meadows with glowing flowers, lush, green alpine meadows with an unbelievable diversity of herbs and the large spruce, larch and stone pine forests of the East Alps are so close you can pretty much touch them. Discover further beauties of nature, such as Lake Windebensee or the Königsstuhl summit, during walks and hikes along the mountain road. The alpine flora and fauna only reveal their secrets at second glance. Over the change of seasons, they developed survival strategies to endure the snowy winter and to cope with the challenges posed by such high altitudes. Have fun reading all about it!
flower meadow
 Pine with rhododendron

Masters of survival strategy: the trees stone pine and larch

The Nockberge is graced with the largest stone pine population of the East Alps. Since time immemorial, stone pine wood has been popular for building sitting rooms and beds. Today, it is known that stone pine wood reduces the heart rate and, as a result, blood pressure, making sleeping in stone pine beds a genuine elixir of youth! Stone pine cones, which can be made into delicious liqueur, are just as popular as the wood itself. A lesser known fact is that stone pine has developed an innovative strategy to survive winter freezes of up to -40 °C. It creates the antifreeze agent glycol! The water reservoir in its trunk, which can comprise up to 400 l, is therefore perfectly protected. The larch has found a different way. It sheds its needles in autumn in order to prevent loss of moisture in winter.

Learn more about this topic at the exhibition “Bäume als Überlebenskünstler”  (Eng. “Trees as Survivalists”) at the Grundalm!

Small, smaller, mountain flower: blossoming plants in alpine heights

If you’re driving from the starting points of the Nockalm Road to its highest road, it corresponds to a 3,000 km journey from Carinthia to the vegetation of the tundra on the North Cape. The higher the position, the shorter the vegetation period, i.e. the time the plants have to grow until seed maturation. This time span is reduced by a full week every 100 altitude metres! It hardly comes as a surprise that the alpine flora above the timber line has developed its own survival strategies. Strong roots serving as a reservoir, underground blossom and leaf roots, and hair coats protecting from withering are typical characteristics of plants on the mountain. Meadow anemone, houseleek and nigritella are excellent examples.
 Three marmots
Marmots

Spike lavender: beneficial unique specimen in the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge

Among the countless plants in the Nockberge is one that was already famous millennia ago in the then known world. Even Cleopatra asked for it – the spike lavender. The bitter, aromatic smell of this non-descript plant hangs over the Nockberge meadows from July to September. It’s not its blossom, however, but the roots that the few licensed spike lavender collectors, who harvest them carefully and sustainably, are after. In August, the roots are dug out by hand before being passed exclusively to the company Speick in Frankfurt, which turns them into natural cosmetics. Tip: treat yourself to a refreshing footbath at the Wolitzenhütte spike lavender nurture station on the Nockalm Road!

Find out more about spike lavender in the Carinthian Nockberge! 

Whistling alpine creatures: marmots in the Nockberge in Carinthia

You will probably hear it first before seeing it while hiking in the Nockberge: marmots communicate with high, sharp screams, that we hear as whistling. This also serves as a warning signal against its main predator, birds of prey. If a short-necked bird is spotted in the skies, the rodents quickly retreat into their underground lairs for protection, but soon they rummage about on the mountain meadows again in order to collect enough fat reserves for winter. Roots are part of the spring menu, replaced by numerous herbs and grasses in summer. The first snowfall at the latest kicks off the six-month hibernation for the marmot family. Tip: visit the new exhibition “Wildtiere und Lebensraum” (Eng. “Wild Animals and Habitat”) at the Pfandlhütte on the Nockalm Road!
You’d like to learn more about the flora and flora at Biosphere Reserve Nockberge? Then go exploring with a Biosphere Reserve ranger  and discover the exhibitions along the Nockalm Road !
 
old stone pine
Zirbe