The abundant flora of Slunjčica
The grasslands developed on the slopes of the canyon were created by anthropogenic impact in the past so that these are the grasslands of the erect brome characterised by a large number of species. On the entire protected area, 101 different plant species were noted, of which 14 species are strictly protected based on the Nature Protection Act, of which two are sub-endemic species.
Endangered species: bladder hibiscus (Hibiscus trionum), bee orchid (Ophrys apifera)
Sensitive species: water mannagrass (Glyceria fluitans), bug orchid (Orchis coriophora), toothed orchid (Orchis tridentata), burnt-tip orchid (Orchis ustulata)
Insufficiently known: creeping marshwort (Apium repens), water starwort (Callitriche cophocarpa), filiform rush (Juncus filiformis).
The main types of forests in the Slunjčica canyon and the wider area are mixed oak and hornbeam forests. Neutrophil oak and hornbeam forests represent a widely distributed climate zone vegetation of the lower continental area. They develop from the high underground waters, on hilly terrains with a neutrophil soil reaction. Above the oak and hornbeam forests, on somewhat higher altitudes in the hilly belt, neutrophil beech forests have developed.
The life cycle of the bee orchid (Ophyrs Apifera) is a romantic story on the fascinating nature world with almost human traits. In the Mediterranean, the bee orchid plays the seduction card in order to perpetuate its life in that, by mimicry, it makes a female bee pose waiting for a kiss. It thereby releases the scent of a female bee irresistible to single bees from the Eucera species leading to the pollination of the host. Outside of the Mediterranean, it self-pollinates because of the natural position of its pollinium and stigma. Here it blossoms from mid-March and reaches the height of up to 15-50 cm. The bee orchid literally means ‘bee attracting eyebrow’. Ophyrs in Greek means eyebrow, while Apifera in Latin means something attracting bees.
Bladder hibiscus (Hibiscus trionum) is a threatened species whose flower lives only one day that day always being a sunny day. At the end of the day, when the sun goes down, before the flower closes, it bends its neck and touches the anthers, which takes care of the self-pollination. The seeds are small and many and they spread by themselves, able to live more than 10 years in the soil. Hibiscus trionum is extremely imaginative in attracting pollinators, it secretes nectar, and, in addition, it uses also iridescence. Petal iridescence visible to the human eye make iridescence one of the signals to insects to visit the flower.