Pulsatilla patens. Photo: Veli-Matti Uski.

One of the most beautiful flowers in Finland, the protected Pulsatilla patens or the Eastern pasque flower is found only within a small area in  in the environs of the town of Hämeenlinna. The flower grows on steep esker slopes and in the sunlit pine forests in their vicinity. Forest fires and forest grazing used to provide the habitats of Pulsatilla patens with enough light and sufficient gaps in the undergrowth.

Fire prevention, abandoned grazing and eutrophication caused by nitrogen loads have caused overgrowth in several habitats, while other areas are now covered by a thick layer of raw humus and forest litter. The Pulsatilla patens populations have been in alarming decline for decades and the species is now critically endangered.

The project covered seven Natura 2000 sites in which the species is still found. In 2016, excavators, hoes and metal rakes were used to clear habitats and their immediate surroundings of shady trees and patches of surface peat. Some sites were also burned to improve the growing conditions of the species.

In 2016–2019, Pulsatilla patens saplings and seeds of the area’s native populations were planted on the maintained strips of land. The survival of the saplings will be monitored according to a monitoring and translocation plan drawn up as part of the project.

Both the restoration and planting were succesfull. The two-year-old saplings already bloomed in spring 2018.

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Last updated 31 July 2020