The flora of the Montesinho Natural Park stands out for its high diversity and number of rare species, including several endemic species.
The geological, climatic and orographic conditions that prevail in this region, associated with an intense human activity, contributed to the emergence of different types of plant communities.
Some plants are annuals and among the perennials or perennials, there are many deciduous trees and shrubs, which look different throughout the year. Therefore, if you want to get to know the flora well, you will have to visit the Park in the different seasons of the year.
Along the way you will find a diverse range of plants from the region.
1 – Ultrabasic Vegetation
Ultrabasic Massif of Bragança-Vinhais
The northwest of Portugal has a very particular geology, presenting basic and ultrabasic rocks that are rare in the European context. The Bragança-Vinhais Massif has predominantly dark colored rocks, although the ultrabasic rocks can sometimes have a bright greenish hue.
Ultrabasic rocks generate very selective soils for plants – serpentine soils. In these we find fewer plant species, but a high value of endemism – plants with restricted distribution, in this case exclusive to the ultrabasic rocks of the Transmontana.
2 – Lameiros
The marshes, also known as meadows or mountain pastures, are a representative biotope of the highlands of the North of the country.
They are territories of great wealth and floristic and faunal complexity.
A wide variety of plants can be found in the marshes, including several endemic species.
Man maintains and uses these permanent meadows for the production of hay and livestock grazing and their existence depends on the application and maintenance of an irrigation system that uses the force of gravity to conduct water from, for example, springs.
3 – Riparian Vegetation
Along the watercourses, there are three main types of riparian forests in the region: ash, amiial and willow trees, however it is still possible to find other vegetation associated with these riverside areas.
Riparian vegetation is essential for river ecosystems, representing unique habitats, fostering biodiversity and biological productivity.
It contributes food material to aquatic systems, retains sediments from water erosion and nutrients from leaching, in addition to its importance at a landscape level, while also keeping the banks of water courses safe.
4 – Oak
The black oak forests are one of the main types of autochthonous arboreal vegetation in the region. Due to its size and state of conservation, the oaks in this region are considered to be one of the most important forests of black oak in Europe.
These forests are of great wealth, providing spaces for shelter, reproduction or food and have a remarkable importance in the conservation of the flora, harboring a great diversity of species both inside and on the edges.
The black oak fulfills fundamental functions in the formation of the soil, in the protection against erosion and regularization of the beds of rivers and streams, they are important in the conservation of water, fauna, flora and fungi.
They value the landscape, creating spaces for recreation and leisure and provide the possibility of pastoral use.
5 – Production Forest
Chestnut groves (Castanea sativa) are very representative in the region.
The production of chestnuts is the main objective, and they are also used for wood. Some of them are still living testimonies of the secular history of the region and valuable gems of the natural heritage.
The cherry tree (Prunus avium) is widely distributed throughout Europe, it is autochthonous in Portugal and throughout the North of the country.
Its fruit generates a good income for producers and the fruit of wild species constitutes the food base of numerous species of birds.
Cherry is highly sought after for its quality wood for use in furniture.
In the forest stands of the region it is still possible to identify a series of species cultivated for the production of wood, among which the Cupressus lusitanica, Cupressus sempervirens, Juglans regia (walnut) and some of the genus Pinus and Pseudotsuga stand out.