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The White Dittany and the Stipa

Hiking around Karlštejn definitely deserves another blog post. Karlštejn is more than a charming village and a jewel of Gothic architecture. Karlštejn nature reserve – just one section of Český kras nature reserve – is one of the biggest little nature reserves in Czechia. And for me, hiking in the forest around Karlštejn is like entering a temple. No matter what religion (if any) you are. The cool shade of its majestic forests welcomes everyone with opened eyes for natural wonders. I am going to introduce you to just a few of the fabulous wildflowers you can spot while hiking around Karlštejn at this time of year.

The Salvia flower (wild sage).

There are many species of the Salvia flower blossoming around Karlštejn at this time of year. In some locations, wild sage is so abundant that it turns meadows blue. The name Salvia comes from the Latin salvere (to feel well and healthy, or heal). Plants in this family are used in traditional folk medicine due to its antiseptic effects.

The Herb Robert aka Wild Geranium

This is very common specie while hiking through shady forests of Karlštejn area. In some parts, meters of hiking trails are bordered by this color. The Czech name kakost smrdutý means “smelly geranium”. Usually I find Czech specie names very poetic and charming, however in this case, I find it quite unfortunate. It is true that this plant has very unusual odor, which I am not able to associate with anything similar. So if you bump into this flower, take a leaf, grind it in between your fingers and let me know what you think!

Summer pheasant’s-eye

This specie was much more common in the past, and was considered a weed, nowadays, it is a critically endangered specie in the Czech Republic. But you should be able to spot it while hiking through the fields of Český kras nature reserve at this time of year.

Smooth meadow grass

What would the Czech countryside be without its meadows! This time of the year is like no other. Grasslands are blossoming, but not for long! So if you (like me) like watching the wind painting waves after waves in this beautiful environment I would recommend you head out for a hike ASAP! This is farm land, and most of the meadows will be cut quite soon.

The Solomon's seal

Solomon’s seal

This plant has not come into flower yet. But soon will be, you can check for flowers beneath its leaves. This specie is very common in the forests around Karlštejn, and the reason I added this picture is because its rather big leaves are quite eye catching. The Solomon’s seal was used in folk medicine as a sedative and diuretic agent. However, it contains toxic elements, so even our ancestors knew that this plant was not suitable for long term use.

White Dittany

White Dittany is another endangered specie in the Czech Republic, and again, quite common in Český kras nature reserve. One of many other names is the Gas Plant. Try (if you dare!) to light a match above this plant on a hot, sunny day! And do not touch! In combination with sunny rays, you might get quite a nasty burn. Apart from that, it is a beautiful flower turning many parts of Český kras nature reserve pink at this time of the year.

So if you decide to go hiking around Karlštejn these days, enjoy. And of course, you will see much more as we come into summer in this gem of Czech biodiversity!