On higher altitudes, there is the beech area (picture), where beech predominates being the most suitable ecological environment for its growth; to the southern limit there are alders and larch and pine woods. Only as an exception and in particular ecological conditions, beech borders on deciduous oaks.

In wide areas, among which the woody complex of Gariglione Mountain and Macchia dell’orso in Sila Piccola and Cecita Valley in Sila Grande, beech is found together with silver fir in quite spread groups, which is however not so common in windy zones. This typical kind of fir is showing a particular endurance against “acid rains”; for this reason its seed are more and more required from abroad (Germany, Austria, etc…). In these same areas a decline of beech has been observed, to the good of silver fir, of which an abundant natural renovation is found.

In Gariglione forests, it is possible to admire some centuries-old and majestic samples of silver fir and beech, real living monuments, vestige of the virgin jungle or “Urwald”, never touched by human hands, still existing at the beginning of this century and described with great admiration by Norman Douglas in his book “Old Calabria”. Among other arboreous and shrubby species, found alone or in groups, in the vegetal association of this area, it is worth to remember aspen, linden, maple, willow, holly, wild cherry, plum, crab apple, butcher’s broom, the evergreen Daphne and many others; the belladonna is very common, having berries similar to cherries but poisonous, which however in the past were picked up because of their healing properties. The wild rose and the whitethorn are rare.

In Cecita Valley (CS) and Gariglione (CZ), under the shadowy beech-woods, you can find the orchid which, lacking in chlorophyll, hasn’t got green leaves and its flowers make their way through the thick layers of leaves in July-August. In the wide and luxuriant pastures, the grass predominates on the leguminous and composite; the five-finger, the nard, the tormentil and the Calabrian luzula are similarly common.




In these same highly humid places, it is possible to catch sight of sphagnum (picture), water musk typical of acid places, the beautiful male fern, the marshy viola, the soldanella and the snakeroot; places lacking in stagnation are characterized by asphodel and, sometimes, brier.

The National Park provides for the wood preservation and for the management of forestry resources through interventions which don’t modify the landscape and the eco-system main features.