Hargitaliget



 

How to get here

Going from Miercurea Ciuc towards Odorheiu Secuiesc, 20 km away from the town of Miercurea Ciuc we get to a signpost indicating the direction to Băile Chirui. Following this sign we go along the road through the forest approx. 1,6 km until we get to a small bridge over a river. We leave our car here and walk on by the river. In a few minutes we will se the information board of the nature reserve.

Map of the road from Miercurea Ciuc to Hargitaliget

Description of the area

The area is located in the Haghita mountain, north-east of Baile Chirui, near the excellent mineral water spring called “Festőforrás”.

The marshes are formed due to the watertight characteristics of the volcanic rocks. Rain water and spring water accumulates into delves and craters and causes oxygen deficiency within the soil. The lack of oxygen slows down decomposition processes, organic materials get accumulated, the surface becomes acid, the bacterial flora gets transformed. Due to this process so-called “raised-bogs” are formed. The name comes from the growing sphagnum settlements which form a convex surface.

This peat-bog is approximately 1,5 ha, which has been a nature reserve of national importance since 1980.

The cool, humid microclimate made it possible for some species to survive, which can be found only in similar peat-bogs in Northern Europe.

These are relicts form the glacial age. This specific flora attracts peculiar fauna, therefore this area attracts several naturalists, bug-collectors and other specialists.

A geologist, Dr. János Bányai discovered the rare marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) here. Ádám Boros, a botanist discovered here a subarctic-glacial moss, the Paludella squarossa. This is its only occurrence in the Carpathian basin. Another famous scientist, Erasmus Gyula Nyárády worked here as well, therefore the flora of this reserve was described as early as in 1943, in monograph by Rezső Soó, entitled The Flora of Szeklerland. The peat-bog is inhabited by various sedge and other species.

 

 

 

Here one can often find Star Sedge (Carex echinata), Bottle Sedge (Carex rostrata), Silvery Sedge (Carex canescens). The Black Sedge (Carex fusca) got its name after the black colour of its flower. Below the sedge there is a thick carpet of moss. Their pillows grow not only horizontally, but also vertically, in layers; the lower layers die away and form a thick peat layer, while the upper layers live on.

Among the moss pillows one can find the Common Tormentil (Potentilla erecta), the Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), the Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), the Early Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), the Moorland Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata), the Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris), Ligularia sibirica, the Marsh Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), the Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), the Willow Gentian (Gentiana asclepiadea). Spruce and beech form the wood, but one can also find Silver Birch (Betula pendula), Downy Birch (Betula pubescens), Grey Alder (Alnus incana), Grey Willow (Salix cinerea), Laurel willow (Salix pentandra), and Dwarf Birch (Betula humilis).

In spite of its rare flora, locals do not seem to appreciate this reserve enough. One can often see sign of grazing within the marshes. Trampling of animals endangers the fragile balance of the peat-bog, it also changes the surface and might cause the disappearing of sensitive species. Preserving this colourful and rich spot of the Carpathian flora is all our responsibility.

Szentes Lajos, Demeter László

 
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